As Tottenham Hotspur ramp up their efforts to sign a reliable backup striker to club talisman Harry Kane, the rife transfer speculation surrounding the future of Crystal Palace striking outcast Alexander Sorloth appears to have taken a further landmark twist.
After managing just one goal throughout his Crystal Palace career – in the Carabao Cup – the £8.1 million signing from FC Midtjylland seemed unlikely to ignite a career in top-flight European football. Once a hot prospect in SE25, the striker had fallen severely down the Palace pecking order after struggling to find the back of the net.
In spite of his lacklustre career in south London, a two-year loan deal to Turkish giants Trabzonspor proved immensely fruitful – a spell that saw 39 appearances, 24 goals, 9 assists and a Turkish Cup victory to Sørloth’s name, with the 6’4 Norwegian giant now regarded as one of Europe’s most in-form strikers.
Buoyed by confidence after his superb first year in the Turkish league, it would seem as though a new suitor in the shape of Tottenham has entered the race for the Norwegian’s signature after previous offers from German heavyweights RB Leipzig.
According to reports, Trabzonspor president Ahmet Agaoglu has revealed the club are in talks with Tottenham over a deal for Alexander Sorloth.
The striker remains on the books of Crystal Palace, but the Turkish club have an obligation to buy the player if he plays 50 per cent of their matches this season.
Regardless of this, it certainly appears as though Sorloth will not be in Roy Hodgson’s plans for the 2020/21 season and he will likely be making a complicated exit from the club. This was corroborated by the fact that Sørloth opted to not return to Turkey after the international break, during which he scored two goals against Northern Ireland.
He reportedly informed the club that he was awaiting the results of COVID testing, but also cut all channels of communication with Trabzonspor.
Now Trabzonspor president Agaoglu claims Tottenham have entered the running for Sørloth. He said:
Sorloth wants to go. But every player who wants to go, there is no world in which we [would] say okay. Leipzig are interested and we [will] meet with Tottenham. We will act in [Trabzonspor’s] interests.
When quizzed about this public interest, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho responded:
Yes, I want, I need a striker, but I want to make it very, very clear that the club – the structure above me – knows that I need a striker and also wants a striker.
Are we going to get one? I honestly believe so. For the balance of the squad, the team needs it because at this moment the squad is getting very balanced, with different options for different positions.
Spurs have a number of striking targets they are considering, including RB Salzburg’s Zambian hot prospect Patson Daka.
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Given the manner in which Sorloth was loaned out, for Palace to be receiving such promising interest in their striking outcast is an enticing prospect.
It remains to be seen as to whether a deal will materialise, though given the complexities and conflicting reports surrounding clauses in Sorloth’s contract, the interest may not entirely blossom wholly in Palace’s favour. Trabzonspor may well be entitled to buy and ‘flip’ the player on for a substantial profit.
Palace risk losing out on their own asset – though all parties will surely recognise it is in their mutual interests to co-operate and attempt to reach a swift and amicable solution over the striker’s future.