Any Tottenham plan to turn Clement Lenglet’s loan into a permanent move looks to be in jeopardy, as the Frenchman is reportedly likely to return to Barcelona in the summer.
The centre-back joined Antonio Conte’s side at the start of the current campaign, with no option to buy included in his loan deal.
Lenglet has proved to be a useful option for Spurs this season, so this news will come as quite a surprise to the London side’s fanbase.
Indeed, the 27-year-old has regularly featured on the left-hand side of Conte’s defence, competing with Ben Davies and Eric Dier as he has made 15 Premier League starts so far this campaign in addition to two substitute appearances.
However, according to Spanish outlet Sport, Barcelona do not believe that Lenglet will make the permanent switch to the London side, which is what they initially anticipated when they agreed on the loan deal.
The Catalans had hoped to receive £15.9million this summer but that money may not be coming from Spurs, who could have put their transfer plans on hold for the foreseeable future.
In December, Antonio Conte refused to declare whether Lenglet would remain at Tottenham past his loan spell, saying: “I don’t know the situation about his contract.
“I can make an evaluation about what I see in training and on the pitch, then I can give my opinion to the club. But you know, the club has the last decision.
“Clement is a really good player, don’t forget that we are talking someone who played five years in Barcelona. When you play for many years in this type of club, with great history, great importance, it means that you are a good player.
“When I spoke with him in the summer I was very clear with him, if you decide to play you have to come with us, you will play, a really good player good personality, technically and good choices in the game.”
Conte has consistently pushed for the Spurs hierarchy to continue spending during his time at the club, but the Italian’s contract expires at the end of the season and he may even depart sooner.
Daniel Levy has already lined up several potential replacements, with Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi all being sounded out.
Indeed, Conte has failed to build on his success last season, after Spurs were knocked out of the Champions League last Wednesday, which represented their last real chance to lift a trophy under the Italian coach.
They may also struggle to secure another top-four finish. Tottenham currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table, but with Newcastle, Liverpool and Brighton hot on their tails, the race is far from over.