Bruno Martins Indi could possibly be looking at a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur.
The 21-year-old centre-back/left-back has gotten on the radar of many clubs across Europe with his solid play for Feyenoord and the Netherlands national team. In a league not necessarily known for strong defenses, the trio of he, Daryl Janmaat and Stefan de Vrij shows a ton of promise.
Much like de Vrij and Janmaat, a move to the Premier League might be on the cards this summer. Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reported earlier in March that Spurs are targeting Martins Indi.
As with every club in the Dutch first division, Feyenoord will find it extremely hard to hold on to a player like Martins Indi should Tottenham make a bid. A bid in the £5.5-£8 million range would be enough, and it's still a rather paltry fee when compared to some other possible targets.
Playing in the Eredivisie and without the benefit of European football this season, Martins Indi remains a rather unknown quantity. Here's a look at the player Spurs would be getting.
The Complete Package
There's little on the pitch that Martins Indi can't do in terms of his position. Dutch football often produces skilled attackers. Every once in a while, a defender like Martins Indi comes along.
Although born in Portugal, Martins Indi is thoroughly a Dutch player. He's spent almost his entire life in the Netherlands and as a result, has been drilled constantly to be proficient on the ball. Martins Indi is a very skilled passer for a defender and has the possibility of starting the attack from the back. He's not going to panic when on the ball and cough up possession.
In addition, Martins Indi has a fair amount of speed. He doesn't have a tendency to bomb forward when playing at centre-back, but should Martins Indi need to get back, he's more than capable of doing so.
With the style that Andre Villas-Boas utilizes, Martins Indi would be a perfect fit.
The defender is also very strong in the air. He's not overly tall, at 5'11", but Martins Indi is able to get up very well and clear out crosses. His heading ability has also been a boost to the Netherlands, in particular, on set pieces. Martins Indi has scored two goals—one with the foot and one with the head—for the Dutch national team. He could be lethal when combined with the set-piece ability of Gareth Bale.
In terms of tackling, he is very strong. Despite being considered a ball-playing defender, Martins Indi is more than capable of stifling the opposition's attackers. Moving to a league like the Premier League, which embraces a fair amount of physicality, would be a great fit for Martins Indi. Not one to shy away from contact, he's even willing to take down his own manager.
Of course, Martins Indi is still unpolished, but that's to be expected from such a young player. As with many inexperienced defenders, he can sometimes be caught out because of his poor positioning. That's something that will come along with experience.
Don't Get Left at the Back
Some might look and see that Martins Indi has dabbled a little at left-back for both Feyenoord and the Netherlands national team. It certainly makes the player look much better in terms of a potential transfer if he can play multiple positions.
However, don't be fooled into thinking that Martins Indi would be a dependable left-back upon his arrival in the summer.
Martins Indi should first and foremost be thought of as a centre-back. That's his best position on the pitch. He can become a steady left-back, but it's going to take some time. During his adventures out wide, Martins Indi has struggled to get back at times, leaving the left side of defense exposed. The mistakes he makes against the likes of Eredivisie teams or national sides like Andorra and Romania aren't going to be as magnified as they would against Premier League teams.
As a left-back, Martins Indi is still a work in progress. He still needs quite a bit of time to finely tune his skills at the position. Even the most natural full-backs can have a difficult time of balancing the combination of attack and defense. For a converted centre-back, that transition could possibly take even more time.
It's hard to envision Martins Indi getting much of a run out at centre-back should he end up at Tottenham this summer.
Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic recently, and the 25-year-old will only continue to get better as he gains more Premier League experience.
Villas-Boas has dangled Michael Dawson in the transfer market before as evidenced by Dawson's aborted move to QPR (h/t Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail). Dawson has turned around and proven himself quite valuable to Tottenham, so trying to move him again might prove an even bigger headache for AVB.
Where Spurs could possibly need a replacement is at left-back. It wouldn't be the first summer that Benoit Assou-Ekotto has flirted with a summer move away from White Hart Lane (h/t The Telegraph).
Of course, should Spurs qualify for the Champions League, Martins Indi could simply be used as cover for the preferred back four as Villas-Boas would have to juggle both league and European fixtures again.
Should that be the case, Martins Indi would be making the wise decision to hold out for first-team football. This is a very key stage in his development, and he needs to ensure himself plenty of chances to improve as a footballer and not lose his place in the national team.
Gregory van der Wiel could serve as a nice reminder. Showing plenty of promise at Ajax, van der Wiel moved to a much bigger club in Paris Saint-Germain. Unfortunately, the start to his season was absolutely disastrous. As a result, van der Wiel has fallen out of favor for Louis van Gaal and lost playing time to Christophe Jallet.
Martins Indi can become a great defender. If that would happen at Spurs is a bit up in the air.
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