The Spurs and Brentford super sly swap deal that could give both clubs the transfer boost they need

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Brentford need a number ten, and Spurs want some depth in midfield - so why not make a trade?

As it stands, Brentford are in a bit of trouble. They are just three points from danger and while they have a game in hand, it’s against Manchester City. They haven’t been playing badly, per se, but they are struggling to score and for all that Thomas Frank’s system still appears to work they lack a certain creative spark. In short, they need another Christian Eriksen.

And Brentford aren’t the only club who need some help in midfield just now – Tottenham Hotspur are going just fine of late, but Ange Postecoglou clearly wants to do something of a refresh in midfield. He doesn’t seem too sure of players like Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and they’ve been shopping around for the kind of hard-running, box-to-box midfielders that their Australian coach likes, which explains why they’ve been looking at Conor Gallagher.

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But Conor Gallagher may well not be coming if Chelsea can raise the funds they need by selling someone else (Armando Broja has been placed on the auction block of late for this exact reason) and Brentford can’t just click their fingers are produce a playmaker out of thin air – but these are two teams that could help each other out.

Brentford have a bunch of energetic, bustling midfielders who will run themselves into the ground in a high press and are just as happy getting back and making tackles as they are bursting forward to support attacks. Spurs, meanwhile, have a gifted playmaker with the vision and passing range to offer Brentford the extra attacking dimensions they need who is, effectively, going to waste – Giovani Lo Celso.

Even with James Maddison injured and a clear vacancy opening up in the number ten role, the Argentine attacking midfielder hasn’t really nailed the spot down. He has still only started four league games and hasn’t played the full 90 minutes once. There have been a couple of minor injuries – he’s dealing with one right now – but ultimately the impression is that Spurs don’t have a use for him for too much longer.

Partly that’s because he doesn’t greatly suit Postecoglou’s system and isn’t the kind of all-action, ball-carrying midfielder he values. Unlike Maddison, he can’t stand a man up one-on-one and create overloads in behind them with any regularity. But he has a tremendous passing range, an eye for a killer ball and he can score them too, as his strikes against Aston Villa and Manchester City imply. Those are all qualities that Brentford, who have become something of a blunt instrument in attack without Bryan Mbeumo, badly need.

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Spurs, meanwhile, probably wouldn’t turn their nose up at a few of Brentford’s steely central midfielders. Christian Nørgaard and Mathias Jensen, in particular, have pretty similar skillsets – both are adept at forcing turnovers, have great stamina and the willingness to get up the field, great numbers for final balls and shot generation around the area and a decent passing range.

If we’re picking one for the sake of this hypothetical transfer, then Jensen would probably be Postecoglou’s favourite – he has the bit of extra ball-carrying ability that makes a big difference in the avuncular Aussie’s system – while Brentford would probably gently nudge Nørgaard towards the door, simply because he’s a year older at 29 and only has 18 months on his contract. But either way, Brentford would get what they need to put a bit of spark back into the side and Spurs would add depth in a key area.

Of course, this really is just a hypothetical situation. We’d be surprised if Lo Celso was still at Spurs in a year’s time, and we wouldn’t be shocked if Frank took a chance on him, just as he did with Eriksen. When the Dane was running the midfield at the Community Stadium, Brentford became a different beast, with guile and grace added to the power and industry they already have in spades. The failure to find an alternative has left them looking a little cumbersome.

Ivan Toney is finally back from his long suspension for breaking the FA’s gambling rules, and that will likely make a massive difference to their goal output – but having the best number nine in the world would only add some many to your goals for column if you don’t have the service coming in from behind. Currently, with no Mbeumo and no Eriksen-esque playmaker, Brentford are lacking in vision and dynamism.

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Spurs, meanwhile, don’t lack for grit, graft and box-to-box dynamism when players like Pape Matar Sarr, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma are available, but if they do manage to put European football back on the menu next season then they will need depth, especially if Postecoglou gets his way and cleans house a little.

Of course, nobody really seems to do swap deals these days, so this is really just a concise way of discussing two good options for two clubs with differing needs going forward, and a way forward for two players who may not be around forever. Lo Celso has the talent to flourish in the right environment, but it sems unlikely that will be Spurs. Nørgaard, meanwhile, is nearing 30 and has earned the right to prove himself at the next level – and Brentford will not likely be able to cash in on him for much longer. So a move like this would make plenty of sense. But then again, this is the transfer market. Since when has it ever made any sense?

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