Tottenham Transfer News: Latest on Milan Badelj Rumours, AC Milan Interest

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2017

FLORENCE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 05: Milan Badelj of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and AS Roma at Stadio Artemio Franchi on November 5, 2017 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

AC Milan are reportedly ready to make a swap offer for Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj, who has been linked with Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

According to Calciomercato's Kaustubh Pandey, La Viola are interested in Rossoneri youngster Manuel Locatelli, who could be used as bait to bring Badelj to the Italian fashion capital.

Locatelli's playing time has taken a hit after his great 2016-17 campaign, and the arrivals of Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessie during the summer, and the Italian could move clubs in January.

Manuel Locatelli
Manuel LocatelliMarco Luzzani/Getty Images

Spurs have also been credited with an interest in Badelj, a 28-year-old Croatia international who has been with Fiorentina since 2014. The links have mostly been pushed by Calciomercato, while the Daily Star's Lewis Winter has also reported on Spurs' interest.

The Croat's contract runs out next summer, and his status as a soon-to-be free agent is what's driving his value. As shared by Football Italia, he has held off on contract talks so far:

Badelj is a clever midfielder who mostly stands out for his passing ability and vision. The Croat reads play well and can distribute the ball with both feet, both short and long. He has quick feet when dribbling and is equally effective playing right in front of the defence or in a more advanced role.

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He also likes to shoot from distance, although he's not much of a scorer―he's yet to score more than two goals in a season in Serie A since moving to Fiorentina.

Milan invested heavily during the summer and have put their youth movement on hold for now. The Rossoneri have an impressive academy filled with talent, but the high-priced acquisitions have understandably taken precedence so far. Moving Locatelli to accommodate Biglia would be in line with the current thinking at the San Siro.

FLORENCE, ITALY - AUGUST 27: Milan Badelj of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Artemio Franchi on August 27, 2017 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

For Spurs, Badelj would be something of an atypical signing. Under manager Mauricio Pochettino, the club has found much success with younger players, bringing up talent from the academy and finding clever deals for high-upside players in the transfer market.

It never hurts to add experienced options on free transfers, however, and there are virtually no risks involved with signing Badelj. The midfielder has at times been relegated to a bench role with Fiorentina, and mostly took those demotions in stride, rather than complain to the media.

He could be a solid contributor in north London, although he seems more likely to stay in Serie A after years of living and working in Italy.