Premier League transfer spending higher than last season
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Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder could not help himself from aiming a parting shot in the direction of Djed Spence after his recent move to Tottenham on a long-term deal. Spence excelled while on loan at Nottingham Forest over the course of last season and has since been rewarded for his efforts with a lucrative switch to one of the Premier League’s biggest hitters.
Spence was loaned out by former Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock at the start of last season in a snub which appears to have soured the defender’s relationship with the Teeside outfit in the months since. Wilder questioned Spence’s lack of gratitude to Middlesbrough when quizzed on his move to Tottenham on Friday in a final dig at the 21-year-old, who was sold for an initial transfer fee in the region of £19million.
“It’s a great deal for a player who has hardly played at all,” said Wilder. “He hardly mentioned us, did he? He mentioned his season at Forest, I thought he might have mentioned the people who brought him in when he got freed at Fulham.”
Forest were heavily linked with a permanent move for Spence after his impressive loan spell at the City Ground last season, but Tottenham ultimately won the race for his services after eventually striking a deal with Middlesbrough. Wilder recently admitted that Forest did not even firm up their interest in Spence with an official bid, leaving Tottenham as the only genuine contenders for his signature.
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“Tottenham were the only show in town, so they could hang out, which they have done,” explained Wilder last week. “We needed to hang out, which we have done. Eventually, a deal has been done.
“Tottenham will feel they’ve got a very good deal for a young player, we feel we’ve got a great deal to get the money we’ve got for a player who has hardly played for the first-team here. Forest didn’t come in for him, nobody else came in for him, Tottenham were the only show in town.
“That made it quite difficult for Neil [Bausor] and Steve [Gibson] to get the right number, but they did and they’re comfortable with it. As far as I’m concerned, he’s gone, I don’t have to speak about it again and we move on.”
Spence, meanwhile, will be hoping to build on his productive campaign with Forest by pushing for regular first-team football at Tottenham over the course of the upcoming season. Antonio Conte awkwardly revealed on Wednesday that he did not ask the club’s hierarchy to land Spence, though, which suggests that he will need to exceed all expectations in order to impress the Italian coach when the competitive action gets back underway.
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