Tottenham had two bids turned down for Blackburn teenager Ashley Phillips in January – but are expected to return with a bigger offer in the summer. Spurs are likely to be one of the busiest clubs in the Premier League at the end of the season as they attempt to add much-needed reinforcements to Antonio Conte’s squad.
Spurs signed Juventus duo Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentacur in January, but some fans were left disappointed that attempts to add Adama Traore and Luis Diaz failed, with the pair instead sealing last-minute moves to Barcelona and Liverpool respectively.
And the north Londoners were also unable to complete a move for Phillips, who is one of the most highly-rated teenagers in the country.
Phillips, just 16, is yet to make his debut for Championship promotion contenders Blackburn – but Spurs saw bids rising to £5 million including bonuses rejected last month by the Lancashire club.
The centre back, now 6 ft 4ins tall, has been performing so well in Rovers’ youth and Under 21 set ups that a host of scouts have been present at games, from clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea.
Tottenham, though, made the first move for the player, who qualifies to play for both England and Wales, and want to add him to their development sides.
Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has labelled Phillips a “mega footballer” and said this month: “Ash is a phenomenal young boy; if you were to create a defender in the mould of how you would want one, this kid has got every attribute.
“But he is still just a young boy. He needs time. He’s an exciting prospect, is all I’d say.”
Rovers, currently lying third in the Championship, rate Phillips as probably their best young prospect since Phil Jones, who left for Manchester United in 2011.
The youngster was on the bench for Rovers in their FA Cup defeat by Wigan last month, but is yet to make a first team outing.
Meanwhile, the current lack of quality in Conte’s team has led the Italian to seemingly give up on the pursuit of a top four finish this season.
Speaking after the hugely disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Wolves on Sunday, he said: “When you lose two games at home and against Chelsea, for a team that wants to qualify for the Champions League, it’s impossible to happen.
“We know we have to fight to build something important with the situation but it’s important to know the situation. Maybe our fans shouldn’t be disappointed with the defeat, instead, they should try and push us and stay behind us.
“The players need to find the right atmosphere and feel no pressure about a target that in this moment you can’t reach. I’ve been saying this since my arrival.
“We need to be realistic and together.
“The fans need to understand to have patience, to wait to rebuild again to a situation they were used to in the past.
“We are working hard with the players and there is great commitment but it’s not enough if we want to be competitive. We have to wait.”