Tottenham Hotspur did well to sign Pedro Porro during January, but Antonio Conte would likely still not consider the transfer window a huge success.
His side currently sit three points off the pace for top four, having played one more game than most teams around them, and they are battling with two of the Premier League’s most in-form teams in Newcastle United and Manchester United for a Champions League place.
The Italian has always been vocal in his demand for additional support. Indeed, it was as recently as November that he challenged his hierarchy to match the spending of both the Magpies and Arsenal.
However, even with the acquisition of the Spaniard, they have pushed payment of the £39m transfer fee until the summer by taking him on loan until then.
It therefore begs the question as to why they could not have secured Conte his “main priority” last month, which was reportedly a centre-back according to Sky Sports’ Michael Bridge. There were few credible reports which suggested that they might actually move for one, and in the end, such a deal never materialised.
Whilst it might frustrate the 53-year-old Spurs boss, he could now look to his youth ranks to plug this all-important gap, and the outstanding candidate for such a promotion has to be Maksim Paskotsi.
The Estonian defender boasts just one senior appearance for the Lilywhites but remains a highly-rated asset who is seen as the future of the club. Indeed, such is his talent that, in 2020, football talent scout Jacek Kulig labelled him “one of the most talented players in Estonia”.
Having only featured sporadically even at under-21 level, the 20-year-old does not post a great deal of data with which to analyse. However, having been hailed by Kulig as one of the best players for his country, his impressive displays in the UEFA Nations League stand as the best way to gauge his quality.
Averaging a 7.10 Sofascore rating in that competition, his averages of 1.5 interceptions and three clearances per game outline him as a stalwart at the back. He pairs this with an average of one key pass per 90, which further paints him in the image of the quintessential modern-day centre back who is comfortable on the ball.
With a sparkling future seemingly ahead of him, now is as good a time as any for Conte to promote the young titan to the first-team ranks and fill the gap which really needed sorting last month.
The sooner that Paskotsi is exposed to a higher level of football, the sooner that he can set about remedying his club’s biggest failing in the January transfer window.