Middlesbrough wing-back Djed Spence wishes to leave for a side where he will play regular first-team football and will keep that in mind when choosing his next destination, according to Football.London journalist Alasdair Gold.
The 21-year-old was one of the first names on the teamsheet for former loan side Nottingham Forest last season, even playing regularly in the FA Cup as he made 50 competitive appearances during the 2021/22 campaign.
Only three of these came for Boro with Spence making the temporary move to the City Ground in late August, only missing two league games for Steve Cooper’s side and those were against his parent club with the England youth international ineligible to play in both.
Quiz: 23 things literally every Nottingham Forest fan should know – But do you?
Recording three goals and five assists during his time in the East Midlands, he made an even bigger impact than those statistics suggest and with this, the Reds are prepared to break their transfer record to seal a permanent deal for his services.
However, they aren’t alone in the race with journalist Gold revealing that Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Roma, Newcastle United and Brentford are also willing to match his price tag.
Spurs were believed to be in pole position to secure an agreement for the 21-year-old – but it’s currently unclear whether they will be able to offer him the playing time he craves with Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal available as other options at right wing-back for Antonio Conte.
This would be a wise stance from Spence because at 21, he’s at a delicate stage of his career where he needs regular first-team football if he is to fulfil his potential and considering he has the potential to get so much better, a lack of game time now may be detrimental.
Conte could potentially play him as a starter but considering Doherty and Royal are available as other options, it would be a risk for the 21-year-old if he was to make the considerable leap to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, even with European football on offer.
At Forest, only the rarely-used Richie Laryea and youngster Fin Back are providing him with competition with Jordan Gabriel departing permanently last summer and with this, he’s guaranteed to be a regular starter at the City Ground again if he rejoins.
Relegation may be a possibility for Cooper’s side if they don’t adapt to the Premier League well and Spence won’t want to return to the second tier, but as long as he can negotiate a reasonably release clause in his contract in the East Midlands, this would be a safe switch to make.
This is why he should be looking to push for a longer-term stay at the City Ground – and he would certainly be in safe hands with Cooper at the helm – with the Welshman playing to the England youth international’s strengths.