Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly closing in on the signing of Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij as Antonio Conte seeks to bolster his backline.

According to a Spanish publication Fichajes, Tottenham Hotspur may be inching closer towards their first signing under new manager Antonio Conte, with Inter Milan star Stefan de Vrij likely to arrive shortly.

De Vrij has been a mainstay at the back for Inter Milan for over three years now. Having arrived from fellow Serie A outfit Lazio in 2018, the Dutchman has become one of the most assured and reliable defenders not only in Italy but across Europe. He was one of the cornerstones on which the Nerazzurri’s title-winning campaign was built last season under Conte.

The 29-year-old has continued to be a key figure under Conte’s successor, Simone Inzaghi. Still, there have been many speculations surrounding his future as his current deal with the Italian champions expires in 2023, meaning he would be entering the final year of his contract at the end of the season. 

Tottenham have been credited with an interest in the former Lazio defender, with those links intensifying, especially after Conte was appointed the new manager following Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking. Bringing in a new centre-back makes a lot of sense for the north London club, considering some of their recent defensive displays.

Stefan de Vrij on his way to Tottenham? (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Stefan de Vrij on his way to Tottenham? (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Eric Dier’s form has been up and down as usual, along with Davinson Sanchez, while Joe Rodon’s development hasn’t gone along as expected, with the Welshman still struggling for game-time. With Conte preferring to use a three-man backline, it becomes imperative that Tottenham equip themselves with a top-quality defender.

To that end, de Vrij has emerged as a target along with his Inter Milan teammate, Milan Skriniar. However, it seems like Tottenham have decided to go after the former, owing to his contract situation, which would make him a potentially cheaper option than Skriniar. In fact, the report mentioned above claims that the Lilywhites are close to completing the signing of the 29-year-old Dutchman.

While the veracity of the report remains undetermined, if true, it could prove to be a huge coup for Tottenham. Someone of de Vrij’s proven pedigree and experience at the highest level would help them tighten things at the back. Furthermore, the familiarity factor also acts as a positive given that he has worked with Conte for two years in the past and knows his ways in and out.

However, with the January transfer window still over a month away, it remains to be seen if Tottenham do get the deal over the line.

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