Leeds ‘heartbroken’ to sell coveted teenage star to Spurs

Leeds ‘heartbroken’ to sell coveted teenage star to Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur have officially won the race to sign Archie Gray from Leeds United. The 18-year-old phenom is one of the hottest young prospects in the whole of England. Fellow Premier League side Brentford were keen to secure Gray’s signature late last week. The youngster even began a medical at the club’s facilities. However, Leeds ultimately rejected the offer due to the payment structure. Spurs then quickly scrambled to finalise a deal with the Whites.

The north London club will pay Leeds around $38 million for the versatile youngster. There is, however, an additional piece of the puzzle in the deal. In addition to receiving Gray, Spurs are also sending Joe Rodon to Leeds for around $13 million. The Welsh defender spent most of the last season on loan at the Whites.

The transactions, despite being simultaneous moves, are separate businesses. Several English teams have used this tactic in recent weeks to help alleviate concerns around profit and sustainability rules (PSR).

Clubs that sell highly-rated youngsters use the entire fee as pure profit. However, clubs can amortize the purchases of players received over a maximum of five years. As a result, these deals help clubs balance the books.

Archie Gray could be an inverted full-back under Tottenham boss

While Spurs are not thought to have any serious concerns over PSR, Leeds are. The Championship side’s failure to gain swift promotion back to the Premier League in May has had significant financial repercussions. Selling Gray is certainly seen as an unpopular move by both the club and its fans. Leeds chiefs claimed to be “heartbroken” to sell the rising star in their official statement. The club, however, were essentially forced into making the move.

Leeds have reason to feel that way. Gray has excelled in his first full senior season during the 2023/24 campaign. Despite his age, the youngster has made 52 appearances in total for the Whites this term. Although he is considered a central midfielder, Gray was largely a fixture at right-back under manager Daniel Farke last season. This was largely due to injury concerns in the position. However, the versatile teenager has also recently played in the position at international level.

There have been suggestions that Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou could deploy Gray as an inverted full-back. Philipp Lahm and Joao Cancelo popularised this new-age tactic under Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool and Oleksandr Zinchenko at Arsenal occupy this role. Postecoglou previously deployed Josip Juranovic in the position at Celtic.

Moving a fullback into central midfield essentially creates an advantage by providing an overload in the middle of the field. Teams that tend to dominate possession benefit from the tactic by having an extra passer in central midfield. This can, in turn, also help a club to relieve opposition pressure.

Teenage star declares himself a midfielder but is open to other positions

Gray informed Spurs fans on Tuesday that while he considers himself a midfielder, he is open to utilizing his versatility to earn playing time. “I see myself as a midfielder,” the teenager told his new club’s official website. “That’s my ideal position, but I don’t relegate myself to one position because I’m a versatile player.”

“That’s effective when you have so many games and competitions. I’m not worried about where I’m going to play. I’m just going to give 100 percent.”

Spending so much money on a teenage prospect is undoubtedly a risky decision. However, Gray is destined for stardom in the Premier League. It is still unclear how much game time the youngster will get. Despite the huge fee, the Spurs boss is unlikely to rush things with the highly-rated prospect.