Tottenham have cheap alternative to three-man centre-back shortlist in January window

Spurs' South American quartet free to play: Nuno

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Tottenham could turn to former target Samuel Umtiti as a cheaper alternative to the existing three-man centre-back shortlist already in place for the January window. The Frenchman has reportedly been asked to leave Barcelona when the window next opens, and not for the first time, which could present an opportunity for Spurs to take a punt on the 27-year-old.

Both Spurs and Umtiti have been through tough starts to the campaign, albeit in front of different backdrops, but they could come to each other’s aid in a few weeks.

According to football.london, Tottenham’s three-man shortlist includes Maxence Lacroix, Nikola Milenkovic and Milan Skriniar.

All of those options are either pricey youngsters or established stars at the top level, sure to set the north London side back a pretty penny if they were to make a move.

Spurs are a club with European ambitions so the need to spend big is presumed, but they already did so during a summer spree which included centre-back Cristian Romero.

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As such, a cost-cutting solution could be even better, and an opportunity could present itself as SPORT claim Barca will ask Umtiti to leave the club this January.

The Catalan side reportedly asked him the same thing this summer, although he refused to do so in what became a major source of tension between the two parties.

Somewhat predictably, Umtiti has not played a single minute for Ronald Koeman’s struggling side so far this campaign.

For a cash-strapped club in over £1billion worth of debt, they would surely be willing to accept any miniscule fee if it finally shifts him off the wage bill.

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His unfortunate situation could open the door for Spurs to rekindle their reported summer interest in the defender.

There is no reason that the Frenchman would not be receptive to an exit, so long as Nuno Espirito Santo and co. are prepared to offer a reasonable contract.

Barcelona is a tense place to be at present due to their poor performances, while Koeman’s imminent sacking leaves the side riddled with uncertainty.

However, unless Nuno can continue to turn Spurs’ fortunes around as he did against Aston Villa on Sunday, Umtiti could merely be moving from one toxic environment to another.

There is also the feeling that the Barca man would be a gamble for Tottenham based on how little football he has played in recent seasons.

The last time he made more than 20 appearances in all competitions was way back in 2017/18.

Still, at one point in his career he showed enough talent to tempt Barca into buying him, while he has also amassed an impressive 31 caps for the competitive French national team.

Theoretically, Umtiti is still in the prime years of his career, and his first foray into Premier League action could yet give him a new lease of life.

He is a player someone is bound to take a punt on, and Spurs could eventually be proven unwise if he is not even in their thoughts when January rolls around.

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