Spurs may have missed out on Antonio Nusa – but they can sign someone even better in the summer

Spurs may have failed to sign January transfer target Antonio Nusa - but they are already lining up a signing who could be even better.
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Although Norwegian prodigy Antonio Nusa’s club record transfer from Club Brugge to Brentford seems to have been put on ice after problems with his knee surfaced at his medical, it looks for all the world as though the Bees will eventually get their man, most likely in the summer. Assuming those knee problems aren’t too severe, it will represent a massive coup for Brentford – and a potential problem for Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs were very much involved in the race to sign Nusa, a devilish dribbler with tremendous close control and lightning pace who, at 18 years of age, is regarded as one of the best wide forward prospects in Europe and has already broken into his national side – but reports suggest that Nusa turned them down because he felt like he would get more first-team football at Brentford. They remain on the brink of an immensely exciting signing, while Spurs have to go back to the drawing board.

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Fortunately, an alternative signing who offers many of the same qualities as Nusa has already presented itself, with a number of media outlets already reporting that Spurs are lining up a summer move for Roony Bardghji. In signing the teenage Swede, they would get one of the few young forwards who could be even better than Nusa.

The Danish press have suggested that his current club, FC København, want at least €20m (£17.1m) for Bardghji, which would break the club record sale but which is still a lower fee than had been agreed between Brentford and Nusa, and also that the Danes expect him to be sold in the near future given that his current contract only runs until December 2025. There will likely be competition for his signature, but should Spurs have the chance to sign him then it is not an opportunity they should pass up on.

If Bardghji’s name sounds familiar, it may be because he scored the winning goal in a 4-3 win over Manchester United in this year’s Champions League group stage – or it might be because he’s one of the best young players in the latest edition of Football Manager. His exploits, both in the real world and the digital one, have generated substantial buzz, and there is plenty of evidence that it will be justified.

Although often used sparingly by his club, Bardghji has an impressive track record, bagging eight goals this season across 20 appearances at a rate equivalent to just under a goal every one-and-a-half games. He is blessed with intelligent movement, superb technique and ball control skills and a brilliant first touch as well as impressively composed finishing for his age.

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There are some notable differences between Bardghji and Nusa, as well as the fact that they play on opposite wings – Bardghji, who was born in Kuwait and does not appear to have been named after Wayne Rooney, whatever you may read, is a left-footed winger who comes inside from the right. Nusa is unquestionably faster, and while nobody would call Bardghji sluggish, he doesn’t have the kind of express pace that many talented young wide players build their reputations on. The Sweden Under-21 international, however, seems to have the superior technique.

His touch, passing and long-range shooting are all exceptional already, and he has the kind of quick feet that allow him to trick his way past defenders in one-on-one situations, combined with a low centre of gravity that makes him a headache to tackle. He’s nimble, agile and even if his legs aren’t as fast as others, his mind appears to make up for it. He could easily end up playing a more central role in the future given his playing profile.

FC København’s sporting director, Peter Christiansen, also has some encouraging words about his attitude and approach to the game: “We know what dreams and talent he has, but he’s a humble boy who works insanely hard on the training ground. He has his dreams, and that is a huge driving force for him,” he said. “Roony’s time will come. I’m sure of that.”

So he’s hard-working, hugely talented and technically exceptional – the only real question mark is over his ability to play as part of a high press, an important element of Ange Postecoglou’s strategy at Spurs. Although perfectly willing to do the hard graft involved, his moderate pace and indifferent tackling means he doesn’t force turnovers high up the field as often as the Australian may want.

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Then again, he is only a couple of months past his 18th birthday. There is a lot of room for improvement and development under the right coach, and by all accounts he has the work ethic to match his lavish skillset.

Spurs have missed out on great Scandinavian talent – they would be remiss to miss out on another. Assuming the reports that they are interested are true, and given the persistence of such rumours it seems unlikely that they are entirely without foundation, then Spurs have him in their sights already. Given the quality that we’ve already seen from Bardghji, and the evident potential he has in those feet, they would be making a major mistake if they allowed him to slip away.

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