Tottenham keen on signing 21-year-old La Liga full-back in January– A good move for Conte?

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Tottenham Hotspur eye January deal for Barcelona star Sergino Dest

According to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero, via Sport (h/t The Express), Tottenham Hotspur are eager on signing Sergino Dest from Barcelona in January. The full-back has not featured for the club since the 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the group stage of the Champions League that led to the club’s elimination in the competition. 

Dest began his career at Ajax when he joined them as a 12-year-old. The American featured for their youth setup and played in their U-19 and U-21 side before joining up with the senior team in 2019. However, after just a year, Barcelona were convinced about him and signed him up from the Dutch club for £21million. He has been in and out of the side in the last 18 months.

Could he now leave the Blaugrana in January? And should Antonio Conte pursue a move for him?

Tottenham Hotspur need Sergino Dest to make their new system work

Since signing last summer, Dest has made 57 appearances for the club. In this period, he has scored three goals and has provided 4 assists. However, his time at the club has been filled with wild uncertainty, with Ronald Koeman and Xavi both not eyeing him as a starter. With the latter eyeing a rebuild at the club, there is no saying where the 21-year-old fits into these plans.

Tottenham Hotspur are looking to complete a move for Sergino Dest in January.
Tottenham Hotspur are looking to complete a move for Sergino Dest in January. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte is now interested in luring the American international to the N17. The Italian joined the club at the start of November and is yet to suffer a defeat in the league. The club’s most recent performance against Liverpool was evidence of the kind of attractive football the former Inter Milan manager can churn out of the current crop of players.

But the 51-year-old would be looking to add reinforcements. Right-back is likely to be one of the areas that could be strengthened. Sergio Reguilon and Ryan Sessegnon have done a great job in the left-back position. The same cannot be said for Emerson Royal on the other side. 

Ironically enough, the Brazilian was also signed from Barcelona in the summer. He came with a lot of hype but has not fully been able to justify it. His defensive performances have been decent, but his attacking input could use a lot of work. Matt Doherty has also been far from the player he was at Wolves. And has failed to produce quality performance in the right-wing back role.

Dest, on the other hand, might be up for the job. He played as a right-back at Ajax and has sometimes played as a wing-back in a 3-4-3 system at Barcelona this season, a setup similar to the one used by Conte at Tottenham. He possesses enough defensive discipline to form part of Conte’s backline. And he has the attacking threat to complement the high-flying frontline of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. There could be doubts about his adjustment to a new league and country. But Conte arguably has a decent track record of bedding his signings into a new environment comfortably.

Sergino Dest could help Tottenham Hotspur seal a Top 4 spot

Conte will apparently be given a massive transfer budget in the winter transfer window. This shall allow him the opportunity to sign the players he wants to actively compete for a Top 4 spot. Dest could be a part of this and it bodes well for the North London club that the La Liga club is looking to offload him in January amidst their financial difficulties.

Barcelona are ready to part ways with Sergino Dest in January.
Barcelona are ready to part ways with Sergino Dest in January. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The USMNT international does have a contract until 2025 and possesses a buy-out clause of £400million. But Spurs could use Barcelona’s financial distress as a negotiating tool to conclude a deal for a reasonable transfer fee. However, they will face competition from Bayern Munich, who have previously been interested in the player.

Regardless, Tottenham have a good project going on for themselves. The recruitment in the summer was plotted out around young players. And they now have a manager that can churn the best out of each of them. The arrival of the 21-year-old could mean an exit for Doherty or Royal, but there is no place for individuals that cannot compete at the highest level. 

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Conte has come to win trophies, not to massage egos. He is a proven winner, and although trophies are unlikely for the club this season, Dest could be the difference-maker in their quest to finish in the Top 4, as evidenced by the kind of importance Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man City have placed on their full-backs.