Tottenham scout Union SG defender Koki Machida

Tottenham are interested in signing Union Saint-Gilloise’s Koki Machida, with Ange Postecoglou prioritising the signing of a new central defender in January.

Koki Machida

Spurs’ debut season under the tutelage of Ange Postecoglou was going very well, with the first XI looking very settled and the lack of continental competitions meant the schedule was not as taxing. However, two key injuries in the squad may have changed Postecoglou’s plans entirely.

The serious hamstring injury to summer signing Micky van de Ven, coupled with the red card suspensions of Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero in the 4-1 defeat to Chelsea, has exposed Tottenham’s lack of defensive depth. While Van de Ven does not require surgery on his hamstring tear, the Dutch defender is still expected to be out of action until the New Year. That means Postecoglou would have to rely on Eric Dier, who hasn’t played much this season and is out of contract next summer.

As a result, Postecoglou’s top priority for the January transfer window is to sign another defender more suited to play in his high-intense, pressing system. Now, Tottenham are reportedly keeping close tabs on Union SG defender Koki Machida ahead of a potential January swoop. They have been impressed with his performances in the Belgium Pro League.

Machida, 26, joined Union SG permanently from Japanese side Kashima Antlers in the summer transfer window after 18 months on loan. It has been a superb start to permanent life at Union SG for the defender, who earned his first cap for Japan in September. The Japan international has featured 16 times across all competitions this campaign, including playing the full 90 minutes in his side’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield in the Europa League in October.

Spurs scouts ‘impressed’ by Koki Machida’s performances in Belgium

Back-to-back Premier League defeats to Chelsea and Wolves have slightly derailed Spurs’ bright start under Ange Postecoglou. In the 2-1 defeat to Wolves before the international break, Postecoglou was forced to start a back four of Emerson Royal, Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Pedro Porro.

The lack of defensive options has forced the Australian tactician to think of investing in a centre-back during the winter window. Koki Machida, who was previously linked with Brighton, is on Spurs’ radar. Postecoglou managed Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos between 2018 and 2021, so has great knowledge and experience of the J-League.

During his rollicking two-year spell with Celtic, the 58-year-old used his know-how of the Asian market to bring in star players unknown to the rest of Scottish football, most notably Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate. He could again rely on his expertise in the Asian market and sign Machida for Spurs, with the Japanese possessing ‘the physical qualities required to play in Postecoglou’s aggressive high line’.

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