What’s the talk?
That’s according to Marco Conterio, with the TuttoMercatoWeb editor revealing in a recent post on Twitter (via Sport Witness) that, after being linked with a move for the Atalanta BC midfielder in the summer, Antonio Conte has now requested that Fabio Paratici launches a move for the 29-year-old this winter.
The Italian journalist goes on to suggest that Spurs’ sporting director is in agreement about a move for Malinovskyi, and is set to initiate talks with the Serie A side’s management team regarding a deal in the near future.
However, Conterio finishes his tweet by stating that Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini views the Ukraine international as a non-transferable part of his squad – despite the fact the playmaker’s current contract at the Gewiss Stadium is set to expire at the end of the current campaign.
In his tweet, the journalist said: “Request from Antonio Conte and total harmony with Fabio Paratici: Tottenham in January will try to take Ruslan Malinovskyi. The negotiation with Atalanta has not started but soon the management will talk to each other. For Gasperini, he is non-transferable.”
“Unlock any defence”
While it is true that Rodrigo Bentancur has stepped up in term of goals from central midfield in recent weeks – with the Uruguayan having hit the back of the net on four occasions over his last six appearances for Spurs – it is nevertheless undeniable that Conte is lacking a truly creative option in the heart of his Tottenham side.
Indeed, with Oliver Skipp, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr all predominantly being defensively-minded midfielders, it is evident that, in order for Spurs to be able to break down sides more effectively, the 53-year-old manager requires a playmaker in the middle of the park.
And, considering just how impressive Malinovskyi has been going forwards in recent seasons, coupled with the £17.5m-rated talent also being able to operate on the left wing and as either a left or right wing-back, the argument that the 29-year-old would be an unreal signing for Paratici to get over the line is an easy one to make.
Indeed, FBref rank the Ukrainian sensation in the top 18% of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, in addition to the top 5% for shots, the top 15% for assists and the top 7% for shot-creating actions over the last 365 days.
The £22k-per-week midfielder also ranks in the top 20% for passes attempted per 90, as well as the top 3% for progressive passes, the top 16% for dribbles completed and the top 7% for xAG – xG which follows a pass that assists a shot – over the past 12 months.
To put these metrics into context over the course of a season, over Malinovskyi’s 30 Serie A fixtures in 2021/22, the attacking midfielder scored six goals, provided four assists and created 13 big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.9 shots, making 1.5 key passes and completing 1.6 dribbles per game.
These returns saw the player who Carlo Garganese dubbed “unreal” and Fuad Alakbarov claimed can “unlock any defence” average a breathtaking SofaScore match rating of 7.22, not only ranking him as Gasperini’s second-best performer in the league but also as the joint 18th-best player in the Italian top flight as a whole.
As such, it is clear to see that Malinovskyi is exactly the profile of midfielder that Conte currently lacks at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, leading us to believe that the €30m (£26m) signing of the 29-year-old would be an unreal deal for Paratici to get over the line in January.