Tottenham Hotspur failed to build on their sensational 1-0 win over reigning champions Manchester City as they were smashed 4-1 by Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Despite taking the lead through Rodrigo Bentancur in the first half, Spurs were put to the sword by Brendan Rodgers’ side and now sit two points off the top four, having played one more match than Newcastle.
The team’s defensive frailties were on full display against the Foxes as the likes of James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes found themselves open in and around the Tottenham penalty box with alarming regularity.
Antonio Conte may want defensive reinforcements to come through the door in the summer transfer window, but the Italian may have a player who could bolster his backline already at the club in the form of academy gem Maksim Paskotsi.
Who is Maksim Paskotsi?
The U21 defender is a 20-year-old Estonia international who has shown great promise in his short career to date, and he could be a future star for Spurs.
Football talent scout Jacek Kulig once hailed him as a ‘similar‘ player to Manchester United‘s Raphael Varane and described the youngster as “complete, dominant and elegant” centre-back, whilst stating that the Estonian is a “modern defender, who combines strength with good technique and passing”.
Conte could now unearth his own version of 29-year-old Varane by promoting Paskotsi to the first-team and offering him a chance to showcase his quality in the senior ranks.
If the titan can even come close to achieving what the Red Devils defender has in his career to date, he will go on to become a great player, as the France international has won four Champions League crowns, the World Cup and three LaLiga titles, whilst being capped 93 times by his country.
Paskotsi, who Kulig once dubbed an “interesting” prospect, caught the eye in the UEFA Nations League for Estonia in 2022 with two strong performances. As per Sofascore, the 20-year-old won 67% of his aerial duels and made 4.5 clearances and interceptions per match for his country, whilst averaging an overall rating of 7.10.
The gem also played in seven World Cup 2022 qualifiers for Estonia and made 2.5 tackles and interceptions and 5.4 clearances per outing, whilst Varane has made 1.7 tackles and interceptions and 3.9 clearances per game in the Premier League this season.
Both players are centre-backs who are actively involved in winning possession back for their team whilst also being in the right place at the right time to make vital clearances at the back.
With his 16 caps and fine form for Estonia, Paskotsi has shown that he has the capacity to compete at senior level, and Conte could unearth his talent – potentially finding Varane 2.0 for Tottenham – by adding to the young enforcer’s one first-team appearance for Spurs so far.
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