Tottenham have completed the signing of the right-back Djed Spence from Middlesbrough on a contract to 2027. Spurs are paying an initial £12.5m but the fee could rise to £20m with add-ons.
The England Under-21 international spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest and helped the club win promotion via the playoffs. He was named in the EFL Championship team of the season and the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Championship team of the year.
Spence, who joined Middlesbrough from Fulham in 2018 and made 70 appearances for the club, is Tottenham’s sixth signing of the summer after Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Clement Lenglet, Fraser Forster and Ivan Perisic.
Antonio Conte, the Spurs manager, identified Spence because he believes he will thrive in his wing-back system, given his speed and desire to drive forward. Spence completed more dribbles than any other Championship defender last season (76).
Conte wants greater productivity from his wing-backs and he has upgraded on the left side with the free agent signing of Perisic. Conte converted the 33-year-old Croat from a pure winger to a wing-back when he was the manager of Internazionale. Perisic scored 10 goals and made nine assists in all competitions for Inter last season.
Spence will compete for a starting spot with Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal, although one of that pair could leave before the closure of the summer window. Doherty has said that he is planning to stay.
Conte is pleased that the club have been able to complete the bulk of their incoming transfer business early, although he will remain on the lookout for further signings. He would ideally like to add another centre-half, particularly if, as expected, Joe Rodon leaves. Rodon has barely featured under Conte. The manager could also add another wide attacker.
The focus will turn in the coming weeks to shifting unwanted players – namely Sergio Reguilón, Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks, who were left out of the squad that toured South Korea. Conte could move on or loan out Japhet Tanganga, Pape Matar Sarr, Bryan Gil, Dane Scarlett and Troy Parrott.