Spurs Opinion: Lilywhites should sign Denis Zakaria as Dembele replacement
Sky Sports claims that the Lilywhites have scouted the 22-year-old defensive midfielder over the course of the season and they are impressed with his rapid growth and development.
The same source adds that Spurs are on the lookout for a new central defensive midfielder to fill in the void left by the departure of Mousa Dembele to China back in January.
The north Londoners haven’t brought in a single new player for two consecutive transfer windows but Mauricio Pochettino is likely to have funds at his disposal this summer to freshen up his squad.
Denis Zakaria has enjoyed another wonderful season in the Bundesliga with Monchengladbach, proving himself to be one of the driving forces behind the club’s surge for a top-four finish.
The 22-year-old Swiss international has made a total of 31 appearances in the Bundesliga this season, scoring on four occasions. Rated very highly at Monchengladbach, he has shown strong signs of evolving into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world in the years to follow.
Zakaria only made his move to Monchengladbach in the summer of 2017 from Swiss giants BSC Young Boys after impressing in the Europa League and has adjusted brilliantly to the highly-competitive nature of the German top-flight.
He has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past year or so and his red-hot form has put him on the radar of Spurs, who are looking at him as a replacement for Dembele.
The 22-year-old, who has 19 caps for Switzerland at the senior international level, represented his nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where he caught the eye with his power, drive and determination in the midfield.
Zakaria has made a total of 65 appearances for Monchengladbach in all competitions till date, accumulating 6 goals and 4 assists, returns which are quite good for a defensive midfielder.
Essentially a defensive midfielder by trade, Zakaria has also been used in central and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park, thanks to his high work rate, energy, stamina, anticipation and drive.
The youngster has shown that he is more than capable of dominating the opposition and disrupting their rhythm with his superior upper body strength, aggressive mindset and constant pressing off the ball.
A tough-tackling and all-action combative midfielder, Zakaria never shies away from challenges and gets really tight on the opposition, closing down the spaces quickly and sticking his foot out to win possession back for his team.
He is a good tackler and often gets into good positions to break up the play but discipline is one aspect of his game that he needs to work on, having accumulated 18 yellow cards in the Bundesliga over the course of two seasons.
The Swiss international is also noted for his ability to set his team on the front foot with his powerful driving runs from a deep position in the midfield.
Calm and composed on the ball, he has a good range of passing, which allows him to keep things ticking in the midfield, while also boasting of an absolute hammer of a right foot that is capable of finding the back of the net with powerful shots from range.
Furthermore, he tends to make those clever little runs into the box to support the attack and score goals.
To put things into perspective, Spurs have every reason to look at Denis Zakaria as an ideal replacement for Mousa Dembele given that he is a full international for Switzerland and a regular for a top-four side in the Bundesliga.
As a matter of fact, Zakaria has an awe-inspiring profile for a 22-year-old and he would be a good long-term investment, as well as someone who could be expected to make an immediate impact in the first-team.
Moussa Sissoko has proven his worth as a hardworking and versatile midfielder this term but Spurs still need to replace Victor Wanyama, who has struggled with injuries. Even when he has been on the pitch, the Kenyan has looked way off the pace and next to a liability in central midfield.
Eric Dier’s struggles in dealing with fast and agile opposition, as well as counter-attacks, was clearly on display against Bournemouth in the penultimate game of the season. Harry Winks, though impressive at times, has struggled with injuries, while Oliver Skipp is still a kid.
Denis Zakaria looks more like the real deal for Spurs and they should go all out in their pursuit of the Swiss international this summer to ensure necessary depth in their midfield options.
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The Lilywhites can still end the season with silverware if they manage to beat Liverpool in the Champions League final but lack of squad depth has been a major Achilles heel in their pursuit of silverware in recent times and the acquisition of Zakaria would be a step in the right direction.