Tottenham chief Daniel Levy opens ‘concrete talks’ over first Antonio Conte signing

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Tottenham have opened talks with Lyon over the possibility of signing defender Joachim Andersen in the summer transfer window, according to reports. The 25-year-old gained plenty of admirers during his recent season-long loan spell at Fulham, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said to be keen on bringing him back to the capital on a permanent basis.

The controversial 59-year-old is currently working on a deal to secure the services of Antonio Conte, who is the overwhelming favourite to become the club’s next manager after leaving Inter Milan last month.

The Italian coach is understood to be closing in on the job and appears likely to take over the reins from interim boss Ryan Mason ahead of the new season.

If Conte is eventually appointed, he will be looking to benefit from a number of signings in order to boost the north London club’s trophy-winning credentials.

Levy is believed to be prioritising the addition of at least one new defender, with Tottenham’s struggles at the back throughout the campaign ultimately pouring cold water on their chances of ending a 13-year wait for silverware.

The club have been linked with a handful of potential targets in recent weeks, including Inter’s Milan Skrinar and Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, but it appears as though Andersen has emerged as Levy’s preferred choice.

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The Dane is edging closer to an impending move to Spurs, with the beaten Carabao Cup finalists in a ‘concrete dialogue’ with Lyon over his availability, according to BT.

It is claimed that the likelihood of a deal is ‘almost certain’ as the Ligue 1 outfit are open to selling their man, while a return to Fulham has been completely ruled out after the club’s relegation back to the Championship.

Andersen’s representatives are said to have already met with Spurs chiefs back in April to discuss the feasibility of a move, with talks continuing to progress ahead of the summer transfer window.

Levy’s search for a new manager is not understood to be affecting his pursuit of the player, who is currently gearing up to represent Denmark at the upcoming European Championships.

Several Premier League clubs from London are also believed to be interested in Andersen, but Tottenham have been identified as the clear frontrunners for his signature.

Lyon are expected to demand a fee in the region of £26million in order to part ways, but it remains to be seen whether they will move the goalposts if the other clubs decide to spark a bidding war.

Meanwhile, former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips has claimed that Spurs could benefit from completing a move for the Lyon outcast, suggesting that he could emulate the successes of his international team-mate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who has established himself as a key player since joining the club from Southampton last summer.

“I think he [Andersen] would be a clever signing,” Phillips told Football Insider last month. “It is another case of the big boys coming sniffing for the top players at the relegated sides.

“It will be very difficult for Fulham to keep hold of Andersen if Spurs came in with a bid.

“We have seen Rodon come in and do well for Tottenham this season and I think he will turn out to be an excellent player and Andersen could be another one.

“It might not be an overnight success but if you get him at the right price, it could be a great signing. Look at Hojbjerg, he’s been fantastic for them this season.

“I didn’t think that was going to be this good. Andersen could be a similar sort of signing for Spurs and be the next Hojbjerg in that way.”

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