Antonio Conte wants Tottenham Hotspur to sign Weston McKennie, who is a very familiar name to sporting director Fabio Paratici…
What’s the word?
That’s according to Gazzetta dello Sport, who claim the 52-year-old manager ‘appreciates’ the Juventus midfielder ‘a lot’ and envisions him becoming ‘the new [Arturo] Vidal’ under his stewardship.
At one stage, the 27-cap American looked destined to leave the Serie A giants this January but an exit is a little less certain after a breakthrough into the starting XI under Massimiliano Allegri in recent months.
However, the report claims that ‘anything can happen’ if Juventus receive a good offer for his services. It remains to be seen what sort of fee that could be, though Transfermarkt currently value him at £22.5m.
Watch out Skipp
Whilst Conte is said to be a massive fan of young Hotspur Way graduate Oliver Skipp, the arrival of McKennie in north London would certainly put his place amongst the starting XI at risk.
That ‘Vidal role’ is similar to what Mousa Dembele was so expertly deployed in during his time at the club, and the 23-year-old could certainly become a comparable player to the Belgian if he joins the club.
Described as an “outstanding talent” by former Schalke 04 boss David Wagner, McKennie is capable of being an absolute powerhouse across the engine room. “In the No.6 or No.8 position he has the mentality, a real working mentality that you need. And he’s brave on the ball as well. He can be one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga,” he added.
No other central midfielder is averaging a better WhoScored rating (6.73) for Allegri this campaign, whilst he attempts 2.2 tackles, makes 1.2 interceptions and manages 1.3 dribbles per 90 in the Italian top-flight.
This shows that not only is he a dominant ball-winning maestro but one that can drive the ball forward to contribute in the final third, much like Dembele under Mauricio Pochettino all those years ago.
Also dubbed a “leader” by Wagner and a “rock” by ex-Juve boss Andrea Pirlo, McKennie would be. an astute signing for sporting director Fabio Paratici to make but the consequence may fall at Skipp’s feet due to the two players occupying the same position.
It would be hard for Conte to axe Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as he is currently their best-performing player in the Premier League, earning a 7.15 rating, which is even more than top goalscorer Heung-min Son.
Therefore, it’s likely that the 21-year-old gem is most at risk, having garnered a rating of just 6.46, even if that’s a little unfair on his true performances.
Although, later down the line a duo of Skipp and McKennie could grace the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for years to come. It’s just in the short-term that he could be impacted severely, should the American join in January.