Tottenham close to signing Ashley Phillips but want to sign another centre-back

Signing a centre-back before the season starts is “definitely our intention”, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Ange Postecoglou said on Wednesday.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba and Micky van de Ven of Wolfsburg are among those Spurs have been pushing to sign, but as yet no central defenders have come through the door.

Ashley Phillips, the highly-rated 18-year-old centre-back from Blackburn Rovers, is expected to join imminently for around £3 million, but he is considered more one for the future and it’s understood that his signing does not affect the pursuit of Spurs’ other targets.

Postecoglou is well aware of the need to bolster the heart of a defence that conceded 63 Premier League last season and another three in Tuesday’s friendly defeat to West Ham.

“Some of it I had identified early on,” he told a small group of reporters. “I don’t think it’s any secret about some of the areas we needed to strengthen. The goalkeeper was one and central defence is another.”

When asked if he would like to sign a centre back before Spurs’ season starts against Brentford on August 13, Postecoglou replied: “Yeah, I think that’s definitely our intention, absolutely. We’ve been working on it for a while and we’ll definitely try to get it done as quickly as possible.”

Spurs would ideally like to sign two centre-backs this summer, on top of Phillips. The England under-19 international is expected to complete his medical in the UK in the next 24 hours before hopefully flying out to Thailand for the rest of Tottenham’s pre-season tour.

As for outgoings, Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga, both of whom played in the centre of the Tottenham defence against West Ham on Tuesday, are available for transfer to free up room for the potential new arrivals.

In general, Postecoglou is aware of the need to trim down a 37-man squad that includes a group of 31 on the pre-season tour.

“We’ve got a big squad (out here) but my view is I wanted to bring them along and just work with them and get some clarity in my head and give clarity to them because I think you’ll find that a lot of them will say, ‘To be honest it’s not for me, the way we’re playing and the way we’re training’, because like I say I do things differently,” he said.

“Every day we have together, every game like last night, it gives you clarity about certain things and there’s no doubt that the squad will be whittled down and there will be some more changes between now and probably the end of the transfer window.”

Next up for Spurs is a friendly against Leicester City in Bangkok on Sunday.


Old and new faces shine for Spurs – but familiar defensive problems bite

(Photo: Getty Images)

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