Ozan Kabak, Schalke 04 centre-back
Spurs are sort of a shambles at the back. They have almost no full-backs, for one. At centre-back, things are a little better but still messy: Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth appear to be unwanted by the club, Davinson Sanchez is inconsistent and Eric Dier isn’t a true centre-back. Japhet Tanganga has promise but isn’t ready for a regular first-team spot. Toby Alderweireld is decent but Mourinho doesn’t seem convinced. Had Dier been fit for the North London derby, there’s every chance he would have started alongside Sanchez instead of Alderweireld (who scored the winning goal).
Also, these are not Mourinho’s players – he didn’t sign any of them. We know how much he loves to have his own people around him. Not an uncommon trait for a football manager but still, it’s been especially noticeable with Mourinho. To address this problem, Spurs are reportedly in talks with Schalke 04 over the signature of centre-back Ozan Kabak.
Kabak, 20, is seen as something of a prodigy in his native Turkey. He came up through Galatasaray’s youth ranks and signed a pro contract with them aged 17. Since then his career has moved quickly. He was signed by Stuttgart on a long-term contract in 2019 but just six months later was poached by Schalke for a fee of €15m. A move to Spurs (his release clause is supposedly in the £40m ballpark) would be another step up the ladder of European football for Kabak.
I don’t pretend to have seen him play, apart from some YouTube stuff, but he’s said to be improving fast since his time at Galatasaray, and has developed into one of the Bundesliga’s most commanding young centre-backs – he does seem to be very strong in the air and have a good reading of the game, like his hero Virgil van Dijk. Spurs fans should be excited by the prospect of his arrival this summer.