Despite the wealth of options Tottenham currently have in the middle of the park when everyone is fully fit and firing, there perhaps isn’t a natural holding midfielder – particularly with Eric Dier now seemingly converted into a centre-back on a permanent basis.
Against both Manchester United and West Ham, Jose Mourinho showed his faith in Moussa Sissoko to be the more defensive-minded player in the engine room, with Harry Winks, and then a combination of Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso lining up alongside him.
But whilst the Frenchman has got the kind of powerhouse game that can help Spurs offensively, he doesn’t offer the same protection to his back four as a more natural anchor man.
Is it Mido or Pedro Mendes? This Spurs quiz will separate the loyal from the fake…
World Class score: 95% | Expert score: 80% | Veteran score: 65% | Intermediate score: 45% | Amateur score: 30% | Try Again: 5%
As per Whoscored, he has averaged just 0.7 interceptions per game in the Premier League this season, and makes just 1.2 tackles per match too – in fact, not since his early days at French side Toulouse has Sissoko averaged more than one interception per match over a league campaign.
And that is exactly why a swoop for AS Roma destroyer Amadou Diawara makes such perfect sense for Mourinho’s side. The Guinea international has been on the radar of Spurs ever since the days of Mauricio Pochettino, and now, according to Italian publication Il Messaggero, the Lilywhites are keen on reigniting their interest in him this summer.
The 22-year-old is the typical modern-day holding midfielder, breaking up play and then passing the ball on with the minimum of fuss. This season, he has averaged a very impressive 1.6 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game in the Serie A – the latter stat actually good enough to place him fourth in the rankings of all midfielders in the competition.
One of his former coaches, Fabrizio Tazzioli, remarked that the moment he saw him in training, he knew he was a “phenomenon“. And at still only 22, and having played for the likes of Napoli and Roma, Diawara has already got some incredible experience at such a young age.
Spurs are lacking a genuine defensive midfielder in their ranks, and if Daniel Levy can pull off this move, then he could well provide Mourinho with the missing piece in the squad.