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Tottenham 'earmark Liverpool-linked Leverkusen star as top defensive target'

Spurs 'earmark Liverpool-linked Leverkusen star as top defensive target'
© Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur reportedly plan to rival Liverpool for the signature of Bundesliga-winning Bayer Leverkusen and Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie.

Liverpool could supposedly face competition from Tottenham Hotspur if they are to land Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie this summer.

The Ecuador international recently celebrated becoming a Bundesliga champion with Xabi Alonso's side, who sealed the crown in style with a 5-0 crushing of Werder Bremen at the weekend.

Hincapie completed 77 minutes of that title-clinching victory on the left-hand side of the Leverkusen XI, while he has also earned plaudits for his exploits in a three-man defence this season.

However, the 22-year-old has faced intense competition from Jonathan Tah, Odilon Kossounou and Edmond Tapsoba at the back, while Alejandro Grimaldo is the first choice on the left flank when fit.

Hincapie has still managed 34 appearances in all tournaments this season - coming up with one goal and one assist - but only 15 of his Bundesliga appearances have come from the first whistle.

Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries and Ecuador's Piero Hincapie in action at the World Cup on November 25, 2022.© Reuters

Tottenham in contact with Hincapie camp

The South American was also overlooked for a start in the first leg of Leverkusen's Europa League quarter-final with West Ham United, which ended in a 2-0 victory for the German champions.

Hincapie only extended his Leverkusen contract until 2027 last February, but a switch to the Premier League is now being heavily mooted for the former CA Talleres man, supposedly on Liverpool's radar.

However, German outlet Bild - via TEAMtalk - claims that Tottenham have also been closely monitoring Hincapie's performances throughout the campaign and could make their own move when the summer window opens for business.

Spurs' interest appears to be serious, as the report adds that the North London giants have already been in touch with the defender's representatives, but Leverkusen have no plans to sell him in the upcoming window.

Should Hincapie end up pushing for a move away from the BayArena, though, Leverkusen would supposedly demand €40m (£34.1m) for his sale, a healthy profit on the €6.4m (£5.5m) they paid for his services back in 2021.

Which defenders could leave Tottenham to make room for Hincapie?

Tottenham Hotspur defender Japhet Tanganga in training in October 2022© Reuters

Hincapie's prospective arrival in North London would see the South American join the established defensive order of Micky van de Ven, Cristian Romero and Radu Dragusin, the former two of whom have formed a strong bond in 2023-24.

Hincapie would therefore have his work cut out to force his way into the heart of defence, while Destiny Udogie has also nailed down the left-back spot in North London since returning from his Udinese loan.

However, the Ecuadorian's signing would allow Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to sanction a handful of defensive departures, namely Joe Rodon, who has been integral in Leeds United's push for Premier League promotion.

Japhet Tanganga, Djed Spence and Sergio Reguilon - all of whom are also on loan elsewhere - could also be offloaded to make room for Hincapie, as none of the trio appears to have a future in North London under Ange Postecoglou.

The long-serving Ben Davies also sees his contract expire in the summer of 2025, leaving Tottenham with a big decision to make over his future when the campaign ends.

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