Southampton's Victor Wanyama would be a smart signing for Tottenham
Tottenham have made some shrewd acquisitions from Southampton over the last two years, and they look set to make another one as they aim to complete a move for Victor Wanyama.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino and his staff, head of recruitment Paul Mitchell and centre-back Toby Alderweireld -- who spent a season on loan with the Saints from Atletico Madrid before joining Spurs -- were all key men on the south coast at St Mary's and have been just as influential in Tottenham's rapid ascent into the Champions League.
The signing of Alderweireld last summer was a no-brainer -- an absolute bargain at £11.5 million -- and the same is now true of Wanyama. Like Spurs' 22-year-old striker target Vincent Janssen, the combative midfielder is a good age as he approaches his 25th birthday -- which is on Saturday -- and, again, he looks like excellent value for money for a fee in the region of £12m.
That is particularly true in a transfer window when Premier League clubs are likely to have to pay inflated prices if they want to poach players from their domestic top-flight rivals, given that all of them are wealthier due to the new £5.14b billion TV deal.
In a lot of cases, there may well be better value overseas. However, in Wanyama, Spurs are close to agreeing a deal for a player with proven Premier League experience, and for substantially less than they are reported to have offered for the same man last year.
Of course, there is the added benefit that Wanyama has worked with Pochettino before, at Southampton -- and he has also played in the Champions League with Celtic. Indeed he scored in a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in November 2012. On top of that, he captains the Kenya national team.
He ticks the boxes and the only surprise is that Spurs are not facing more competition for his signature. If the deal goes through imminently, he will be able to join in with Spurs' preseason programme, which begins on July 1 -- another bonus given the importance of Pochettino's fitness plan when it comes to preparing his players for the energy and work-rate that is expected of them during the campaign.
Wanyama would be an important addition, strengthening an area which was a priority at the start of the summer, along with the front line. A combative midfielder who protects the back four with energy and physicality, he would ease the pressure on Eric Dier.
Dier became so important last season that Pochettino could rarely afford to rest him. The 22-year-old started 37 out of the 38 Premier League games, with his one and only absence being due to suspension -- and he also played in most of the Europa League and cup matches.
Given he was the only one of Spurs' five England players who kept his place and started the final group game against Slovakia at Euro 2016 on Monday night, it appears national boss Roy Hodgson also feels he cannot do without his shield in front of the back four.
It is strange to think that, if Spurs had captured Wanyama last summer, Dier might never have transformed from a centre-back into a defensive midfielder and started the trajectory that has resulted in him becoming one of England's best players in France.
Wanyama may be worth more than his £12m fee in reality, but what would Dier be valued at now, having shown his ability at an international tournament and even scored against Russia? One thing is for sure -- if or when Spurs do seal a deal for Southampton's midfielder, he will not walk into Pochettino's strongest side.
But that is largely beside the point because Tottenham's best XI does not need a lot of work. The aim this summer is to add quality back-up in key areas, allowing seamless rotation without sacrificing quality and enabling Spurs to compete strongly on multiple fronts, including in the Premier League and Champions League. The club's first summer signing, if it is confirmed, would certainly help in that regard and underline the sense that Spurs are only getting stronger after last season's title challenge.
Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.