Everton vs Tottenham preview: Jose eyes Mour strength in defence

Jose Mourinho has had his problems in defence this season

Jose Mourinho has had his problems in defence this season

Sir Alex Ferguson once said “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles” — and Tottenham appear to have cottoned on to the legendary manager’s words of wisdom.

Recent reports claim Spurs are looking to add two centre-backs to their ranks this summer. 

That is not a surprise. Jose Mourinho is not happy with the form of Toby Alderweireld, while Eric Dier’s transition from midfield to defence has had mixed results. 

Ahead of Tottenham’s visit to Everton tonight, we run the rule over who the North Londoners target this summer.

Duje Caleta-Car

Revealed to be a Liverpool transfer target in January, Marseille are reportedly open to selling 24-year-old Duje Caleta-Car.

As with most Mourinho centre-backs, Caleta-Car is primarily focused on defending. 

He puts his head in where it hurts and is very much an old-school, dominant defender. 

The 12-cap Croatian international has won 76% of the aerial duels he has contested in Ligue 1 this season, as well as 67% of his ground duels. 

The 6ft 4in stopper is at an age where he is malleable enough to develop into whatever centre-back Mourinho wants him to be — and mature enough not to be making rookie mistakes. 

Ibrahima Konate 

RB Leipzig star Ibrahima Konate, 21, may be Europe’s most in-demand centre-back now Dayot Upamecano’s future has been decided. 

The 6ft 4in colossus, who has been linked with Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and a host of other top clubs, is believed to have a £28million release clause in his contract.

Konate is dominant in the air, winning 82.8% of his aerial duels in 2020-21, while also being press resistant and capable of progressing the ball when under pressure. 

Joachim Andersen 

Joachim Andersen has impressed while on loan with Fulham. So much so that Scott Parker has made the Lyon-owned defender his captain. 

With the Cottagers facing up to the prospect of relegation, it is highly unlikely they will be in a position to make his move permanent. 

However, it would not be a surprise to see Andersen, 24, in the Premier League next season — the Dane has reportedly already told the Ligue 1 side he wants to remain in England. 

While Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is notoriously difficult to deal with, he will cash in on players when the time is right — just like he did when Spurs came knocking for Tanguy Ndombele. 

A fee of £25m is believed to be enough to tempt the French club into selling the four-cap Denmark international.

Milan Skriniar

After an underwhelming 2019-20 season with Inter Milan, Slovakian centre-back Milan Skriniar looks back to his very best. 

Skriniar, 26, has been a key component for the title-chasing Nerazzurri, who have conceded a league-low 27 goals in Serie A this term.

Inter look set to claim their first Scudetto since 2009-10 but they could be forced to cash in on certain players to fund the next phase of their project. 

Skriniar is believed to be on the list of stars who could be sold and a bid of £60m would secure his services. 

Jannik Vestergaard 

Southampton's Jannik Vestergaardcould be a good fit for Tottenham
Southampton's Jannik Vestergaardcould be a good fit for Tottenham

Southampton know a thing or two about producing a first-class centre-back — just ask Liverpool supporters for their thoughts on Virgil van Dijk.

At 28, Vestergaard would be a relatively short-term fix but that could be just what is required at Tottenham. 

The 6ft 6in behemoth has impressed for a mid-table Saints side this term. 

A juggernaut in the air, winning 60% of his aerial duels, he is also deceptively progressive on the ball. 

Vestergaard regularly picks out passes from deep and would be an asset in a counter-attacking side – that could make him perfect for Spurs this summer.


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