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    Spurs could sign a “monster” defender who’s better than Van de Ven

    The passage of Premier League action passed Tottenham Hotspur by last weekend, with their fixture against Manchester City rescheduled due to their opponents’ involvement in the FA Cup semi-finals, and Ange Postecoglou will have spent some time working on ways to improve.

    Outside first-team training and tactical tweaks that could see Spurs hit a purple patch in the late phase of the current top-flight campaign, fighting to trump Aston Villa in qualifying for the Champions League, sights will be set on bolstering effectively during the off-season.

    The indomitable glow to Postecoglou’s squad during the early stage of the season lost its sheen back in November, injuries ravaging the fanciful title aspirations, but this is a club with the trappings of success once more after several years of suffering.

    Influential signings such as Guglielmo Vicario, Micky van de Ven, James Maddison and Brennan Johnson have worked a treat for a club still in transition, but more work is needed to close the gap on those at the front of the Premier League.

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    While the defence has been much-improved this term, Tottenham are still looking to improve and the perfect new signing might have been lined up.

    Spurs eyeing Bundesliga raid

    According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Edmond Tapsoba is attracting interest from top clubs once again after Tottenham and Manchester United expressed a concrete interest in the Bayer Leverkusen centre-back last summer.

    Now a German Bundesliga champion within Xabi Alonso’s high-flying system, Tapsoba could be on the move in a matter of months, with Romano confirming that Spurs sent scouts to observe the Burkinabé defender in action against Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

    While an accurate price tag has not surfaced during this latest chapter in the transfer saga, last summer he was reported to have a £40m valuation, so in all honesty, Tottenham would probably need to cough up even more after such a superlative season.

    Edmond Tapsoba’s season in numbers

    Tapsoba, who is 25, has spent the majority of his professional career in Leverkusen after signing in an €18m (£16m) transfer from Vitória Guimarães as a 20-year-old, fast establishing himself as one of the division’s most promising young stars.

    Having now amassed 176 appearances for Die Werkself, Tapsoba has cemented himself as a key player within an illustrious year in the club’s history, winning the German Bundesliga for the first ever time, also into the DFB Pokal final and the Europa League semi-finals.

    This season, he’s played 38 times in all competitions and has led scout Antonio Mango to hail him as a “monster” such is the titanic proportion of his displays, yet to taste defeat in 2023/24.

    Edmond Tapsoba for Bayer Leverkusen 

    Hailed for his “press-shattering” and “line-breaking” passing ability by journalist Jack Fawcett, Tapsoba fits the bill and could thrive at Tottenham, progressing the play from the back to enhance Postecoglou’s system while maintaining a robust defensive skill set.

    Let’s delve into a bit more detail.

    How Edmond Tapsoba would fit in at Spurs

    As per FBref, Tapsoba ranks among the top 15% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion, the top 4% for passes attempted, the top 11% for shot-creating actions, the top 1% for progressive passes, the top 2% for progressive carries and the top 3% for successful take-ons per 90.

    edmond-tapsoba-spurs-premier-league

    Clearly, he’s a player who knows his way around a pass, with this elite distribution so integral to the success of Alonso’s unbreakable brand of football.

    Moreover, his high-level athleticism and immense ground-covering quality make for a very singular and window-opening dimension from the back. Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate and Manchester City’s John Stones are superlative in this regard, closing down ground and charging their forward-placed teammates’ efforts.

    With an ice-cold temperament and an eagle-eyed reading of the game, the Burkina Faso international might just be the final piece of the puzzle in Tottenham’s backline. He might even be a better player than Van de Ven within Postecoglou’s team.

    Van de Ven has been excellent this season since joining Tottenham from German side Wolfsburg in a £43m deal, but the 22-year-old still has much to learn and does not quite offer the same complete style as the Leverkusen star.

    Indeed, Spurs’ Dutch defender ranks among the top 2% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion and the top 1% for successful take-ons per 90, but he also ranks among the bottom 9% for shot-creating actions and just the top 71% for progressive passes per 90.

    Cristian Romero, on the other side of the central defence, is far more rounded and vigorous in his performances, and while this fact does not negate Van de Ven’s brilliant campaign and faculty for high-quality output, it bears testament to Tapsoba’s playing style that he might actually be a better stylistic fit.

    Van de Ven vs Tapsoba (League Stats 23/24)

    Stat

    Van de Ven

    Tapsoba

    Matches played

    21

    24

    Matches started

    21

    19

    Clean sheets

    4

    6

    Goals

    2

    0

    Assists

    0

    1

    Pass completion

    95%

    93%

    Touches per game

    77.7

    76.4

    Key passes per game

    0.0

    0.3

    Tackles per game

    1.9

    1.1

    Clearances per game

    2.7

    1.8

    Duels won per game

    4.6 (61%)

    3.3 (55%)

    Ball recoveries per game

    5.7

    6.4

    Dribbles per game

    0.5 (61%)

    0.5 (79%)

    All stats via Sofascore

    From the table above it can be inferred that while both players are impressive, Tapsoba is more active and enterprising in his performance, if not so crisp in defensive clashes. He supplies more key passes and has a higher rate of successful dribbles – certainly idea for ‘Ange-ball’.

    The fact that the Bayer Leverkusen phenom is almost on par with Van de Ven in his distribution accuracy while being far more willing to take risks and carve open gaps for the forwards to exploit is remarkable.

    Based on all of this, it might be a great move for Tottenham to forge ahead and secure Tapsoba’s services, augmenting the squad with a different-styled star to continue the growth under new leadership.

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