Tottenham join Barcelona and Napoli in race to sign 2022 FIFA World Cup sensation - Reports

[L-to-R] Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez and Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte.
(L-to-R) Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez and Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte.

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in signing Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi, who is already on the radar of Barcelona and SSC Napoli.

As per La Repubblica (via talkSPORT), Spurs are the latest team to join the race to sign the Angers SCO youngster, who enjoyed a stellar 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar. The report added that the player is keen to find a new challenge, but his current deal with Angers runs till 2026.

Ounahi played a key role in Morocco securing a fourth-place finish in Qatar last month. The 22-year-old showcased immense maturity for his age and started six of the Atlas Lions' seven games in the tournament. He averaged 0.9 key passes per match and also created one big chance.

Playing as a holding midfielder, Ounahi brought plenty of energy and bite to the fore for Morocco. He made nine tackles and seven interceptions in seven appearances and averaged 0.6 possessions won per game. The Angers midfielder also recorded 16 shot-creating actions and ten dribbles.

His underlying stats provide some insight into why some of the top clubs in Europe are reportedly pursuing his signature.

Tottenham have joined the likes of Barcelona in the race for Morocco World Cup sensation Azzedine Ounahi #THFC…

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez reportedly views Ounahi as the ideal replacement for Sergio Busquets. Busquets' contract at the Camp Nou runs out this summer, with the veteran Spaniard being linked with a move to the MLS. Ounahi's ability to win the ball back and move it forward, aspects Busquets has excelled at over the years, could be vital for Barcelona once the latter departs.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned report added that Tottenham are keen to bolster their squad. Antonio Conte's side are fifth in the Premier League and have often struggled to stem opposition attacks from midfield this season.

Ounahi could not only help in that respect but could also feed the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in the final third. Moreover, Napoli reportedly view Ounahi as a replacement for the 31-year-old Diego Demme, whose contract expires in the summer of 2024.

"I don't know yet" - Reported Barcelona and Tottenham target Azzedine Ounahi on his future

Just days after his displays at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Azzedine Ounahi was asked about his future. The Moroccan remained tight-lipped on any moves in January or in the summer, but he acknowledged other clubs' interest in him.

The reported Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur target told Angers SCO's website in December (via GOAL):

"Today, we all know that there are interested clubs. It will be a choice to be made, a choice that will be important for my career and above all to make the right choice. We don't know how it will go yet. Am I going to sign and leave in January? Am I going to sign, stay and help the club and leave this summer? I don't know yet."
@FabrizioRomano With Bellingham, Tchouameni & Enzo being worth €100m+, one of the best business out there is Maroccian Azzedine Ounahi.Outstanding performance at the World Cup, still only 22 years and priced at €20-25m

It remains to be seen if Barcelona or Tottenham make a formal move for Ounahi in the ongoing transfer window.

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Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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