Tottenham Hotspur remain interested in a deal to bring Ashley Phillips to north London this summer.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by Sky Sports, who claim that Fabio Paratici is keeping a very close eye on the situation of the Blackburn Rovers centre-back ahead of potentially launching a late move for the 17-year-old over the remainder of the summer transfer window.
This would appear to back up previous reports of Tottenham’s interest in the England under-17 international, with the Daily Mail revealing earlier this month that Antonio Conte’s side were thought to be closing in on a £3m deal for the defender, who Paratici is believed to have personally scouted this summer.
Considering just how promising a prospect Phillips quite clearly is, it is not difficult to understand why Paratici appears to be so keen to seal a deal to bring the centre-back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this summer.
Indeed, despite his tender age, the 17-year-old has already become a regular fixture in Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side. Prior to today’s clash , The teenager has started Rovers’ last four Championship outings against West Bromwich Albion, Reading, Sheffield United and Stoke City, having featured for 79 minutes this afternoon.
Phillips has not only been afforded starts in the second tier of English football, he has impressed in the heart of Blackburn’s defence, making one tackle, one interception and four clearances and winning 3.5 duels per game over his four Championship appearances in 2022/23.
The youngster is also evidently comfortable with the ball at his feet, completing 32.3 passes – at a success rate of 84% – and 1.8 long balls per match, with ball-playing ability known to be a trait that Antonio Conte seeks in his centre-backs.
Furthermore, Phillips’ former Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray quite clearly believes that the England youth international has an exciting future ahead of him in the professional game.
He stated of the defender last November: “He’s 6ft 4, he’s fast, mobile and can pass it really well. He can use both feet, he’s composed. Ash is just a phenomenal young boy; if you were to create a defender in the mould of how you would want one, this kid has got every attribute.
“But he is still just a young boy. He needs time, which is why he’s training with the first team so that he gets confident and used to the level of intensity.
“He’s an exciting prospect, is all I’d say. But it’s in a position where there is a lot of responsibility, it’s not as easy to put a really talented young defender in as opposed to a talented young striker where it doesn’t matter if he loses the ball every now and then.
“As a defender, you’re judged on keeping the ball out of the net and winning your individual duels. He is just a boy but he’s got some amazing attributes. We’ve got high hopes that he can progress quickly.”
It would appear as if the 17-year-old would not be a signing who would make an immediate impact within Conte’s first team squad, but should Paratici manage to seal a £3m deal for Phillips over the remainder of the summer transfer window, it would nevertheless be a hugely exciting coup for the Italian to get over the line.
Indeed, Phillips is slowly proving that he has the potential to develop into both a Premier League and England centre-back further down the line, something that a switch to Spurs would likely help him to achieve.