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While the focus at Tottenham Hotspur at present will largely be on enjoying a positive end to the current campaign, there will also be one eye on how the squad could be revamped come the summer, as the Lilywhites look to kick on again next season.
Provided manager Antonio Conte remains at the club beyond the end of this term – amid doubts over his long-term future – one player that the experienced coach will be keen to work with is promising wing-back, Destiny Udogie, with the 20-year-old currently thriving out on loan at Udinese.
The Italian gem was signed by the north Londoners for an initial fee of around £15m last summer, although was subsequently loaned back to the Serie A side for the remainder of the season, hence the growing anticipation to finally see the defender in action at N17.
How is Destiny Udogie getting on at Udinese?
The former Hellas Verona man has enjoyed a hugely impressive season thus far with three goals and two assists from his 20 league appearances, having previously provided eight goal involvements last term in the top flight as a marker of his attacking quality.
That has ensured that the dynamic ace ranks in the top 2% among those in his position in Europe’s top five leagues for non-penalty goals, as well as in the top 12% for successful take-ons and the top 20% for dribbles completed, proving himself a constant threat down the left flank.
The 6 foot 2 sensation has unsurprisingly received glowing praise as a result of that standout form over the past 18 months or so, having been described by manager Andrea Sottil as “one of the best full-backs in the League“.
Journalist Pete O’Rourke – in an interview with Football FanCast – has also provided an encouraging verdict of the Verona native’s talent, having suggested that Spurs may well have pulled off “smart business” by securing a deal last year.
Asked whether supporters should be excited ahead of Udogie’s return this summer, the transfer insider stated:
“Yeah, I think he’s really catching the eye in Italy as well with Udinese, he looks a real top talent. Obviously, Spurs moved early to get that deal done and that looks like a smart piece of business right now because I’m sure there’d be a lot of clubs who would be interested in the player”.
It does clearly look like an astute deal as the player is already potentially worth in the region of £26m – according to CIES Football Observatory – with that representing a notable increase on what Tottenham paid for his services back in August.
Could Udogie replace Ben Davies at Spurs?
The aim will be for Udogie to challenge Conte’s current options on the left flank, with that role being taken up by long-serving machine Ben Davies at present, with the Welshman having started in that wide berth in the recent wins over both West Ham United and Chelsea – notably registering an assist for Emerson Royal against the Irons.
The experienced Welshman – who joined the club from Swansea City back in 2014 – has featured as both a full-back and a centre-back throughout his time in the capital, recording a respectable return of eight goals and 24 assists in 300 games in all competitions.
That includes a tally of two goals and two assists in the Premier League this season – a record not too dissimilar to that of Udogie – with the 29-year-old having proven that he can provide quality service in the final third when required.
As such, with Ryan Sessesgnon frequently hampered by injury – and with veteran option Ivan Perisic not likely to be a long-term fit in the side – it could be Udogie who ultimately takes Davies’ place at left wing-back next season.
Whether it is Conte or a new face in the dugout for the 2023/34 campaign, they will certainly have a real diamond on their hands.