Danny Ings appears destined to leave Southampton sooner rather than later — and Tottenham are ready to make their move.
The Saints striker, who has just a year left on his deal at St Mary's, has rejected the offer of a contract extension.
And with talk of a £20million transfer in the offing, we run the rule over whether Ings, 28, could make an impact as part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs side.
The Kane factor
Tottenham’s search for a striker to support Harry Kane has been long and unsuccessful.
Vincent Janssen proved to be an expensive flop when he arrived from AZ Alkmaar for £17m in 2016.
Despite only netting two league goals in 36 outings, veteran Fernando Llorente made more of an impression in North London.
More recently, loan signing Carlos Vinicius failed to settle last season and has returned to Benfica, leaving Spurs in the market for a forward once again.
But the circumstances are different this time — main man Kane has expressed a desire to leave and Manchester City are keen to sign the England skipper.
That leaves the Londoners looking for a striker who can straddle the boundary between being paired with Kane if he stays or leading the line if he goes.
A bargain buy
With Ings seemingly intent on running down his contract, the situation is certainly favourable for Tottenham.
The England international is about to begin the final season of his deal and optimism of an extended stay at Southampton has dwindled.
Despite the offer of a four-year contract that would have made him the club’s highest earner, Ings is keen to play for a top side again after long-term injury marred his time with Liverpool between 2015 and 2018.
That leaves Southampton with a dilemma — if they do not cash in now, there is every chance their No9 will depart for nothing in 12 months.
If Tottenham are able to take advantage and sign Ings for a cut-price fee this summer, it would represent excellent value for a proven Premier League performer.
Recent reports suggest relations between Spurs and Southampton are somewhat rocky due to the the way negotiations for midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were handled last summer.
City are believed to have also expressed an interest in Ings and the Saints may be more keen to strike a deal with them.
Ultimately, money talks. If Tottenham emerge as the only interested bidder, Southampton would rather do a deal than see their player leave for nothing next year.
Time to step up
Southampton legend Jim McCalliog has warned Ings of the potential pitfalls that can come with moving to a bigger club.
Speaking earlier this week, McCalliog said: "It always looks greener on the other side but then you get there and you might get injured.
"There’s a bigger and better squad of players and you might not be a regular, whereas at the moment he is in the team."
Ings will be all too aware of those difficulties from his time at Anfield.
But he will be buoyed by reports Spurs boss Nuno wants to field a two-man attack.
That system would be similar to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s favoured 4-2-2-2, putting the Saints forward in pole position to be a regular starter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Up to the task?
Ings may not be the most glamorous name to be linked with Spurs but his goalscoring prowess cannot be doubted.
He has netted 34 goals in 67 games over the past two seasons, giving him a remarkable record of 0.61 goals per 90 minutes across both campaigns.
Looking exclusively at 2020-21, he managed a respectable 1.11 shots on target per 90, leading to an average of 0.33 goals from open play.
That is an impressive feat in a Southampton side that opted to exploit transitions instead of attempting to dominate play.
With superior service on offer in North London, the decision to sign Ings should be a no-brainer for Tottenham.