Tottenham Hotspur have hit the panic button ahead of the final three days of the January transfer window after missing out on three of their main targets.
Managing director of football Fabio Paratici has now turned to Juventus attacker Dejan Kulusevski as Spurs attempt to placate growing concern.
The London club have seen deals for Adama Traore and Luis Diaz hijacked by Barcelona and Liverpool, while Italian sources have claimed midfielder Franck Kessie would rather remain in Serie A than move to Spurs.
That has forced Tottenham to quickly change their plans with time running out for chairman Daniel Levy and Paratici to avoid a huge backlash from the club’s supporters.
Even worse, Levy and Paratici may well upset head coach Antonio Conte, who identified the need to sign at least a right wing-back, a midfielder and an attacker.
This month represented Tottenham’s opportunity to show the size of the club’s ambition to Conte, who has been careful not to give any public guarantees over his future beyond this season. But the gap the Italian has highlighted between Spurs and the top three of the Premier League will only widen with Liverpool beating them to Porto star Diaz.
Sources have claimed that a state of panic has now gripped Tottenham, along with anger at missing out on both Traore and Diaz inside the space of 24 hours.
There is still time, just about, to rescue the situation but pressure is already growing on Levy, who was in the Bahamas at the start of the January transfer window, and Paratici who is understood to have returned to his native Italy during the international break.
Spurs are still working on a deal to sign midfielder Sofyan Amrabat on loan from Fiorentina, where he has spent the first half of the season on the substitutes bench, but that alone is unlikely to satisfy Conte and the club’s fans.
Paratici has now turned to his old club Juventus in the hope of completing a late eye-catching deal for Kulusevski who can play as an attacking midfielder or on the wing. Any deal would most likely start as a loan with an option to buy.
The fact the 21-year-old Sweden international has only started half the 20 Serie A games he has played for Juve this season may, however, suggest he will need time to make an impact in the Premier League.
Tottenham had a bid of £15 million rejected for Traore last week and Wolverhampton Wanderers have since agreed to send him on loan to Barca, who will pay £26m for the winger in the summer.
Traore is thought to have been put off a move to Spurs by the prospect of being converted into a right wing-back by Conte, which raises questions over why he was pursued by Paratici for so long.
Tottenham first tried to sign Traore in the summer and it appears remarkable that before reigniting the club’s interest in him this month, Parartici would not have held discussions over the role Spurs and Conte had planned for him.
The failed pursuit of Traore, who Paratici had been confident of signing, has left Tottenham scrambling to find an alternative with Conte clearly unhappy with his right-sided options – even though the club spent £25.7m on Emerson Royal from Barcelona in the summer.
Missing out to Liverpool for Diaz is more understandable, although Spurs are said to be furious that news of their interest leaked, giving their Premier League rivals the chance to make their move.
But it remains a puzzle that Tottenham left a move for Diaz so late in the window, leaving them in a race against time to now attempt to clinch a deal for Kulusevski.
Spurs are also still working to send Tanguy Ndombele on loan to Paris St-Germain and secure late deals for Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso to leave on loan before the transfer window shuts on Monday night.
Defender Joe Rodon could be targeted by Brighton, should Newcastle United complete a late move for Dan Burn.