Spurs: Tottenham in pole position for Ibanez

Tottenham Hotspur are leading the race for the signature of AS Roma centre-back, Roger Ibanez, according to Italian outlet Roma Giallorossa, via Sport Witness.

What is the latest on Ibanez to Spurs?
The report from Italy explains that Roma director Tiago Pinto was in London last week, and is believed to have spoken with Spurs chiefs about Ibanez. Spurs are said to be in pole position “above all (the other suitors)” in the transfer race, but not for the current price tag.

The fee quoted for the Brazilian defender is a minimum of €30m (£25m). This however is a fee which Daniel Levy is unwilling to commit to, instead planning to sign the 24-year-old for around €20m (£17m)
Tottenham are not the only club in the chase for Ibanez, with London rivals Chelsea and West Ham United also showing an interest. Therefore, Roma are hopeful that there is a “revival” of interest from the other interest clubs who could be willing to offer more than Spurs.

What would Ibanez bring to Spurs?
Ibanez is among the best defenders in Serie A, and a player that should he leave, will be sorely missed in the Italian capital.

He played a pivotal role in Roma’s run to the Europa League final, prior to defeat against Sevilla, and nobody will be sadder to see him go than his current boss. Jose Mourinho, speaking in a press conference last year, was incredibly complimentary to his defender, as reported on the AS Roma official website.

“For me, he is untouchable.” Mourinho said, revealing his next line-up would be Ibanez “and 10 others”.

The defender stands at 6 foot 1, which isn’t massive for a Premeir League centre-back, but utilises his height well, winning 1.96 aerials per 90 as per FBRef, which places him about middle of the pack for that metric.While a tremendous physical defender, being both quick and strong, Ibanez also boasts the qualities necessary to be a top level modern centre-back.

Averaging an 87.7% pass completion rate (73rd percentile), along with ranking in the 65th percentile for progressive carries (0.74 per 90) and the 77th percentile for successful take-ons, he is talented on the ball.

Off the ball, the Brazilian averages two tackles per game (82nd percentile) and 2.19 interceptions per game (97th percentile) and therefore is clearly a defender who can read the game just as well as he plays it.

Ibanez will be a major building block for Ange Postecoglou’s new-look Spurs side, but it sounds like it will only happen if Levy and Roma can close a roughly 33 per cent difference in their valuations.