Following on from our report on Tottenham transfer target, Brazilian left-back Guilherme Arana, we now take a look at another that Spurs are keeping a close eye on. This time it is Portuguese-born Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, the young Peterborough United midfielder.
17-year-old Leo Da Silva Lopes plays as a central midfielder for the League One side. Having spent close to five years at the club in a youth development capacity, Lopes began to appear amongst the first team during the back half on 2015/16. This season he has progressed to becoming a regular starter for the Posh, and in doing so has attracted the interest of several Premier League clubs, Spurs included.
Lopes first caught the eye in late 2014 with this wonder strike from well beyond 30 yards during an FA Youth Cup fixture:
Lopes scored his only goal of 2016/17 thus far against Premier League competition in late August. Another great strike, this time against superior opposition in Swansea, had scouts scurrying to watch his every move. Whilst these two finishes are enough to attract significant interest, it is necessary and of more relevance for clubs to determine whether there is the required substance to match occasional flashes of brilliance.
Apart from the two jaw dropping moments, at League One level Lopes does not yet stand out. That is understandable for one so young; he is currently tasked with a fairly basic set of instructions such as breaking up play and laying off simple passes to get his teammates on the ball. No doubt that role will develop and more will be expected of Lopes as he becomes familiar at the level.
Lopes does however appear to have the makings of a future first team player at Premier League level. It is rare for a player of his age and diminutive stature (168cm and 61kg) to start in such a challenging, competitive environment as League One. Especially in a central midfield role. This aspect alone indicates his enormous potential. No doubt as he grows in both size and particularly strength, he will begin to compete much more on a physical standing.
Inevitably, should Spurs in fact sign Lopes then comparisons will be drawn with previous League One signing and now England international, Dele Alli. While on the surface the two play in a similar position and are each capable of an amazing goal, such comparisons would be unfair. When signed for Spurs, Alli was two years older and two years more experienced than Lopes. He was the best player in League One, where Lopes is just beginning to find his feet. Alli was signed with a view to perhaps appearing amongst the first team (which of course he vastly exceeded), whilst Lopes would be very much a youth signing with a view to the future.
Tottenham have a strong working relationship with Peterborough United. With Spurs having sold Nathan Oduwa and loaned Luke McGee to the club in recent times, there should be no trouble in coming to terms on a deal in relation to Lopes. Much like when Alli was purchased from League One outfit MK Dons, it seems obvious that any move would include a loan-back clause, for one season at least.
Tottenham have become a destination club for many of the brightest youth prospects across England and according to reports, lead the way in the pursuit of singing Lopes. Spurs have achieved this through a proud record of development, with an all-encompassing physical, mental and lifestyle approach to maximising the talent of each individual young player. And in giving these players an opportunity to get on the pitch when it is earned. That a young player such as Lopes would be drawn to Tottenham to have their career nurtured and developed does not surprise.