Conte masterplan up in smoke after talks to hijack Tottenham deal quickly accelerate
Antonio Conte’s plan to bring the best out of Wolves winger Adama Traore is facing ruin after Barcelona were confirmed to have muscled in on Tottenham’s move, per a trusted source.
Traore, 26, has been the subject of rampant speculation throughout the winter window. The Spaniard’s contract expires next summer and thus far, there has been little indication he will pen fresh terms.
As such, and with his role under Bruno Lage diminished, talks of a January exit has ramped up.
Spurs emerged as the most credible contender to land the speedy winger. The BBC confirmed they had lodged a £15m offer, though Wolves were holding out for closer to £20m.
The Athletic revealed Conte planned to convert Traore into a right-wing-back if signed. Emerson Royal has struggled to adapt thus far, while Matt Doherty remains on the periphery of Conte’s plans.
Traore had played wing-back on occasion under Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux and would represent a fearsome prospect for an opposition’s left side if given the freedom of an entire flank.
However, rumblings of Barcelona attempting to hijack Tottenham’s deal surfaced yesterday.
Barcelona catch Tottenham napping
Fuelled by agent Jorge Mendes, Barcelona were reportedly plotting a loan move with an obligation to buy in the summer. The obligation would reportedly be set around the €22m mark, which is roughly what Wolves are demanding from Spurs.
For his part, Traore was stated to be open to the idea of returning to Barcelona. Traore spent 12 years on the club’s books between 2004-2015 after initially joining when eight years old.
Now, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has shed new light on the situation, and it makes grim reading for Tottenham fans.
Romano tweeted Barcelona are ‘in talks’ with Wolves regarding a Traore switch. On the agenda are several of the finer details of a move, including the exact terms of an option or obligation to buy in the summer. Wolves were stated to be on board with including that type of clause in a deal.
Negotiations are described as being ‘on’, and a follow-up tweet revealed Barca are willing to cover 100 percent of Traore’s salary across the initial loan spell.
All parties are deemed working towards a Barcelona move with Spurs’ deal described as ‘in stand-by’.
As such, if Conte’s masterplan with Traore is to be realised, Spurs must act fast to prevent Barcelona from hijacking their move.
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Tottenham offered PSG quartet
Meanwhile, Ander Herrera has reportedly informed PSG that he has no interest in a move to Tottenham amid claims he is one of four players offered to Spurs as part of a swap deal.
Per the Daily Express, Herrera is happy at PSG and would only consider a return to the Premier League with former club Manchester United.
According to The Athletic, Herrera’s name is one of four that came up in talks in PSG’s efforts to prise Tanguy Ndombele from Tottenham. Ndombele has not played for Tottenham since January 9. That’s when he was booed off the pitch in an FA Cup win over Morecambe. He has been training alone since as the club try to offload him.
They will not be able to get anywhere near the club-record fee they paid for him in 2019. Therefore, a loan exit – or possible swap deal – looks likely for the midfielder.
Reports last week revealed Paris Saint-Germain are trying to take him on such terms. A deal would reunite him with former Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino.
In an effort to grease the wheels and tempt Tottenham to accept their offer, Spurs have reportedly been offered four stars in exchange. As well as Herrera, the Express writes that Conte has been given his pick from three more. They are Julian Draxler, Danilo and Leandro Paredes.
However, Conte is seemingly happy to bide his time. Neither of the quartet are on his list of prefered targets. As such, he will likely only accept such a deal if he fails to land other targets.
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