Nuno relishing chance for Spurs to 'compete' in Conference League
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Tottenham Hotspur’s recent upturn in form has coincided with the improvement of left-back Sergio Reguilon after a slow start to his Spurs career. But while the Spaniard’s performances have pleased supporters in recent weeks, his form could eventually come back to bite the club after his arrival in August 2020.
It was viewed as a coup for Tottenham to secure the Spain international’s signature after paying Real Madrid £25million for his services.
Chelsea had spent double that figure to sign Ben Chilwell, while the going rate for a player of Reguilon’s ability was arguably a lot higher.
The full-back had shone during a season-long loan spell at Sevilla, where he helped the Spanish side win the Europa League.
But it was clear he had no immediate future at the Santiago Bernabeu under Zinedine Zidane, with Marcelo and Ferland Mendy ahead of him in the pecking order.
Reguilon battled to earn his place in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI before the Portuguese was sacked and spent a short while on the sidelines under caretaker boss Ryan Mason.
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But under Nuno Espirito Santo, Reguilon has found a new lease of life in the back four, using his seemingly limitless source of energy to burst up and down the left flank.
He has featured in all eight of Spurs’ games this season so far and registered two assists in the process, highlighting his attacking instincts as well as defending.
Real have been keeping note of his performances after inserting a buy-back option into the deal, allowing them to re-sign the 24-year-old for an undisclosed amount.
And reports in Spain suggest that Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Zidane this summer, has requested Real activate their buy-back clause in January.
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According to Catalan publication El Nacional, president Florentino Perez has agreed to the request, believing it was an error in judgment to sell Reguilon.
Manchester United had pinned their hopes on signing Reguilon earlier in the summer of 2020 as competition for Luke Shaw due to his loss of form and fitness doubts.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to snap up the left-back after watching Sevilla dump them out of the Europa League.
But Madrid refused to do a deal without including the clause — something United would not entertain.
Inserting a buy-back clause has become a common occurrence for Spain’s biggest clubs, with Real Madrid executing the transfer strategy to perfection in recent years.
They first used it to purchase Jose Callejon, Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal, having initially sold the trio to Espanyol (Callejon and Vazquez) and Bayer Leverkusen (Carvajal).
Chelsea have also recently bought into the idea of allowing their academy products to leave on permanent deals, with Tammy Abraham and Tino Livramento both able to return to Stamford Bridge — albeit for inflated fees.
And now it seems that Real could get their wish again if they can lure Reguilon back to the Spanish capital.
There may be some regret from the north London club’s side, with Daniel Levy negotiating the deal with the risk of Real returning to take back their academy graduate.
And even if they receive a sizeable fee, with football.london reporting Spurs will make a £15m profit, it would mean Nuno may be forced to dip into the transfer market to buy another defender.
It would represent a blow to lose a player of Reguilon’s quality and moral characteristics, having helped save the life of a fan in their match against Newcastle United on Sunday.
But if Real follow up on their interest to re-sign the player while the clause is still active until 2022, Nuno and Levy will be powerless to stop the LaLiga giants.
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