Tottenham enter ‘key hours’ in Ilaix Moriba transfer hunt after player ‘reaches agreement’

Nuno delighted Harry Kane staying at Tottenham

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Tottenham have been dealt a series of significant blows in their pursuit of Barcelona’s Ilaix Moriba. RB Leipzig are also in contention to sign the youngster, and the German side now appear to have gained the upper hand as the Catalan side await an official bid which would push the deal towards completion.

Moriba and Barca decided to go their separate ways after a well-publicised wage dispute which preceded a fallout with boss Ronald Koeman.

As one of the crown jewels of Barca’s famed La Masia academy, a series of top clubs subsequently kept tabs on the 18-year-old’s situation.

Although Spurs were deemed more likely to meet Barcelona’s £17million valuation, Leipzig reportedly proposed personal terms which the north London side could not match.

That appears to have made up the player’s mind, with Sky Italia reporting that Leipzig and Moriba have already agreed on a move.

The only remaining hurdle would be a transfer fee, and if Leipzig cough up enough money to tempt Barca, it will be game over for Tottenham.

It is not the most surprising decision from Moriba, as Leipzig have made a name for themselves as expert developers of young talent.

The teenager will also be well aware that if he progresses as expected, they will not stand in his way down the line if a bigger club comes calling.

That is exactly what has happened with Marcel Sabitzer, who has been allowed to join fierce Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich after a bid was accepted on Sunday.

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Excitingly for Moriba, he would arrive as Sabitzer’s replacement, meaning significant game time could be on the cards for the coming season, something Spurs could not guarantee.

It is not all doom and gloom for Nuno Espirito Santo and sporting director Fabio Paratici, however, after they signed fellow teenage midfielder Pape Sarr from Metz earlier this week.

Extra reinforcements would still have been welcomed, with Tanguy Ndombele ready to be ushered out of the door if a worthy buyer can be found.

Nuno and Paratici have been busy since settling into their respective roles at Spurs this summer, notching four major signings so far.

The fact they have successfully kept hold of Harry Kane is also an invaluable triumph, after it looked almost certain that he would complete a lucrative move to Manchester City.

Couple this with Spurs’ strong start to on-field matters this campaign, and the north London side cannot feel too aggrieved that one of their targets has slipped through the net.

It appears that Moriba’s move to Leipzig is now a matter of time, unless Tottenham throw a late spanner in the works to swing the pendulum back their way.

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