Spurs boss Poch in for former Bolton midfielder Dzemaili
New Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly set his sights on signing Napoli and Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili this summer, but will have to fight off interest from Liverpool and West Ham. The Argentine is 11/4 to steer his new side to a top four finish.
The 28-year-old had a season at Bolton Wanderers in 2007/08, and was touted by then manager Sam Allardyce, who is bidding to get him a second time, as “one of the most promising defensive midfielders in Europe”.
However, a cruciate ligament injury limited him just one FA Cup appearance for the Lancashire outfit, before he was sent out on loan the next season to Torino, where he eventually signed permanently.
Dzemaili, who captained his first team FC Zurich to two Swiss Super League titles from the age of 19, upon leaving the Trotters, said with class and maturity: “A few years ago it was my dream to play in the Premier League and Bolton showed they really wanted to bring me there.
“I don’t think I wasted time in England, as I got to learn a new language and face off against a very different style of play than I was accustomed to.”
Macedonia-born Dzemaili has been called up to the World Cup with the nation he grew up in, Switzerland, and has a wealth of experience since moving to Italy. He has won the Coppa Italia twice with Napoli, including this season under Rafa Benitez. However, he has not started as much as he would have liked this term, and seemingly seeks more minutes.
Spurs currently have the likes of Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Mousa Dembele and Sandro in the middle of the park, but most failed to impress in a side that finished sixth under Tim Sherwood. Lewis Holtby was also shipped off to Fulham on loan, but was described by Felix Magath as “a very skilful and a nice player but he is not a fighter.”
Dzemaili, who has 32 caps for the Swiss, goes to Brazil with his country for the World Cup and will face France, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E. Switzerland are second-favourites both to top that pool at 12/5, and odds-on to qualify for the knockout stages at 8/13.