Pierre-Emile Højbjerg looks set to join Tottenham Hotspur from Southampton for a reported £15m fee in a move which demonstrates Daniel Levy’s strengths in the transfer market.
The Dane has just one year remaining on his deal at St Mary’s, and their former club captain has made no secret of his desire to join the north London side.
Even before fans figured that he was ‘liking’ tweets and Instagram posts linking him with a move to Spurs, Højbjerg told SPORT1 earlier this year: “I want to play at an even higher level than I am currently.
“The relationship between me and Southampton is fantastic. The club gave me the platform to grow. I’m not saying ‘goodbye’ and I’m focused on my club, but my goal is very clear: I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.
“I gained a lot of experience [at Bayern Munich] so that I could move on to develop elsewhere. When I was 23, I became a captain in a Premier League club. Now I’m hungry to get to the next level.”
These comments saw Højbjerg replaced as captain, but it alerted Tottenham and Everton of the Dane’s desire to leave the Saints.
Though the Toffees were the first to make with a bid, there were two factors which worked in Spurs’ favour – Højbjerg’s interest in joining them, and the future of Kyle Walker-Peters, who had impressed on loan at Southampton in the second half of this season.
Although the right-back is set to move to Southampton for £12m, there were reports suggesting Fulham were also interested in the right-back. Should Scott Parker’s side submit a bid, as unlikely as it is at this stage, the final fee Walker-Peters is sold for could rise closer to the £15m Spurs are expected to spend on Højbjerg – even though the deals are separate, this should help balance the books.
Jose Mourinho previously revealed he has composed a realistic list of summer signings he expects the club to deliver, with the acquisition of Højbjerg reportedly a priority. And his arrival comes at a good time for Spurs.
Højbjerg will link-up with his new Tottenham teammates ready for a full pre-season at Hotspur Way – this will be a big boost for a club who usually do their business late in the window.
Mourinho’s recent Instagram video offering an insight into his preparation for pre-season has also caught the eye of Højbjerg, with the midfielder ‘liking’ his new boss’ post.
Tottenham have been in desperate need for a midfielder that can protect the back four and help them in transition, the type of player Mourinho was able to mould Nemanja Matic into.
It is a position Højbjerg has previously played, but the Dane has generally played a bit higher up for Southampton – Mourinho must see qualities in the midfielder that makes him believe he can be the commanding player his side needs.
The pair will have around a month to work together before the Premier League season gets underway, and it this could prove to be incredibly efficient business for the north London side.