This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Middlesbrough player Djed Spence is set to be subject to a bidding war over the coming weeks.
The exciting full back spent the campaign on loan with Nottingham Forest, where he was a key player in the side that earned Premier League promotion.
Spence’s performances have caught the eye of Antonio Conte at Spurs, who is hoping to bring him to White Hart Lane this summer.
However, Steve Cooper is also keen to keep the 21-year old at the City Ground for next season.
Here we ask our FLW writers their verdict on which club would Spence be better suited to sign for this transfer window…
The lure of England’s elite is likely to be very tempting for Djed Spence, however, I believe Nottingham Forest would be the best destination.
He has improved at an exponential rate under Steve Cooper, so imagine another year, or another few years under the Welshman’s stewardship.
Quiz: Are these 20 Middlesbrough transfer facts true or false?
Cooper has a gift when it comes to the development of young players, with Spence being transformed from a player with great potential, to someone who is filling his potential already.
A right-back with tremendous pace, excellent technical ability and defensive competence, he is really someone who can achieve tremendous things in his career.
At Forest, he is likely to be afforded first-team football, so if he is able to adapt seamlessly to the Premier League, then he will start to bolster his chances of international selection.
Spence may well be good enough to move to Spurs and get into the side there but I think staying at Forest for next season and improve under Cooper is the best route for him.
Forest can offer Premier League football now, and that means he is pretty much guaranteed to be playing week in week out in the top flight for the Reds if he sticks around next season.
Obviously Spurs will be tempting, but I do think given Forest’s promotion they now have every chance of keeping him around.
Spence had an excellent season with Nottingham Forest and it would make sense for sentimentality to suggest he should sign permanently for Cooper’s side.
However, the opportunity to work with Conte could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
He would face competition from Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty, but he should fancy his chances to break into the Spurs team.
The lure of Champions League football should also not be ignored, with Spurs currently acting as the obvious choice for Spence at this moment.
While he could develop his game with Forest for another year or two, that step to a big club is already available and might not come around again for various reasons – injury, unexpected decline, etc – so Spence should jump at the chance to compete at such a high level.