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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
David Hytner

Tottenham loan Djed Spence to Leeds in Ange Postecoglou’s squad clear-out

Djed Spence
Leeds-bound Djed Spence joined Rennes on loan in January, starting his first nine games, but a knee injury led to him being sent home early. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Tottenham have loaned Djed Spence to Leeds for the season as part of a drive to ship out unwanted players before the transfer deadline on Friday night. The right-back, who joined Spurs from Middlesbrough for an initial £12.5m last summer, failed to win the favour of the then manager Antonio Conte, who notoriously described him as a club signing.

Spence went on loan to Rennes in January, starting his first nine games before losing his place and then sustaining a knee injury that led to him being sent home early.

The pre-season under Spurs’ new manager, Ange Postecoglou, was seen as pivotal for Spence but he made the squad for only one friendly, coming on as a 72nd‑minute substitute in the defeat by Barcelona. Postecoglou did not include the 23‑year‑old in any of his Premier League squads.

Spence, who is under contract at Tottenham until 2027, joins another Spurs loanee, Joe Rodon, at Leeds. Rodon was also on loan at Rennes last season. Leeds will pay all of Spence’s salary and there is no option for them to buy him at the end of the deal.

Postecoglou is under pressure to trim his squad, not least because it includes 20 non-locally trained senior players; Premier League rules permit 17 in the 25-man group.

Hugo Lloris, who is still trying to negotiate the terms of his departure after a stellar 11-year career at the club, stands to be one of this number off the books and Postecoglou wants to move on Sergio Reguilón and Tanguy Ndombele; he has not selected either player since the start of the season. Ndombele, under contract at Spurs until 2025, is of interest to clubs in Italy where he spent last season on loan at Napoli.

Postecoglou is happy to keep Giovani Lo Celso if no buyer can be found for him and Bryan Gil’s rehabilitation from groin surgery early this month means he is likely to stay put. There is uncertainty over what happens next to Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Davinson Sánchez and the homegrown defender Japhet Tanganga. Højbjerg has long been touted for a switch to Atlético Madrid but he has now been linked to Manchester United.

Spurs continue to try to force out Eric Dier, despite his popularity and seniority in the dressing room and nine years of service at the club. The centre-half, who will not sign a new contract to replace the one that expires next summer, has been frozen out under Postecoglou.

Unless Dier, who is training normally with the group, finds a move to suit him he will not leave. It is understood that Serie A could appeal to him. Dier, the 49-cap England international, is classed by the Premier League as a non-homegrown player as he was raised from the age of seven in Portugal.

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