Tottenham Hotspur recently announced the signing of Radu Dragusin from Genoa for a £26.7 million transfer fee.
Bayern Munich were also keen on the 21-year-old, but he opted to join Spurs over the Bundesliga giants.
Dragusin has penned a long-term contract that will keep him in London until 2030.
Many Tottenham fans are likely to have heard his name only recently, as he was playing in Serie B just last year.
We take a closer look at the player who has been dubbed the ‘Romanian Virgil van Dijk’.
Who is Radu Dragusin?
Dragusin comes from a family with a sporting pedigree, with both his father and mother having represented Romania at the Olympics.
He started his football career at Sportul Studentesc at the age of seven before switching to Regal Sport Bucharest. His talent was noticed by Juventus who paid €260,000 to bring him to Turin.
The defender progressed through the age groups and eventually received a call-up to the first-team squad in November 2020. He made his senior debut the following month against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League.
Juventus handed him a four-year contract in April 2021 after being impressed with his performances for the Under-23s. He was sent on loan to Sampdoria and Salernitana but failed to make an impact.
Dragusin stepped down to Serie B after joining Genoa for the 2022-23 season, but the move reignited his career. He featured in all 38 league games, and played a pivotal role in helping the Red and Blues secure top-flight promotion.
The 21-year-old has also been very instrumental in helping his team settle back into Serie A this season.
Alberto Gilardino’s side are currently sitting 12th in the standings, with the young centre-back starting all 19 league matches.
What can Tottenham expect from him?
Dragusin mainly plays as a centre-back, but he can also be used as a full-back. Tottenham need versatile players this season with their squad riddled with injuries.
The Romanian’s biggest strength is his ability in the air. And that’s not very surprising given he is six foot three inches tall. Only two players have won more aerial duels in the Italian top-flight than him this season. His heading ability also makes him a very dangerous player at set-pieces.
Dragusin makes big challenges when required but isn’t the sort of player who is snapping into tackles very often.
His defensive numbers in the Serie A have been impressive this term, with the youngster averaging 1.1 interceptions, 0.8 tackles, 4.6 clearances and 3.3 ball recoveries per game. He is also very quick and can recover on the rare occasions opponents get the better of him.
Dragusin is still very young and there is plenty of room for improvement. Under Ange Postecoglou, he is expected to develop his game further and become a major star for Spurs.
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