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Radu Dragusin: Tottenham complete signing of Romania defender from Genoa in £26.7m deal

Tottenham sign defender Radu Dragusin from Genoa in £26.7m deal; Romania international chose Spurs over Bayern Munich; the 21-year-old becomes Tottenham's second January signing after the loan arrival of Timo Werner; both signings could make debuts on Sunday at Manchester United

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The Transfer Show panel discuss the news that defender Radu Dragusin has joined Tottenham Hotspur from Genoa

Tottenham have signed defender Radu Dragusin in a £26.7m (€31m) deal from Genoa after the Romania international chose to join Spurs over Bayern Munich.

Tottenham saw off late competition from the German champions to conclude a deal that will see them pay an initial £21.5m (€25m) plus £5.2m (€6m) in add-ons to Genoa.

Napoli had also registered an interest in Dragusin, who has signed a contract with Tottenham which will run until 2030.

"I just feel excited. I feel very, very happy [to be here]. It's a big step for me, but I feel it's the right step." he told Spurs official after joining the club.

"I can say the decision was inside my heart. I had a couple of talks with the coach and I felt a really good connection with him.

"He told me that he really wanted me to join, he likes the way I play and he thinks that I am a good fit for the team. I like this kind of football with a high line aggressive with a lot of pace at the back to defend.

"It's a dream to come and play football for this kind of team."

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A centre-back signing had been a priority for Spurs this month after the club's lack of cover in the position had been exposed in recent weeks.

The 21-year-old becomes Ange Postecoglou's second January signing after the arrival of forward Timo Werner on loan until the end of the season.

Dragusin and Werner could both make their Tottenham debuts at Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

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Dragusin's arrival will be the latest chapter in his rapid rise, having made 62 appearances for Genoa over the past two seasons after progressing through Juventus' academy.

Spurs earlier confirmed on Thursday evening that Djed Spence had joined Genoa on loan until the end of the season.

Postecoglou: I felt Dragusin was best option for us

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou:

"He's a good fit for us for a football perspective with some great attributes as a young player. After my chats with him, as a person too. He's got the right motivations about why Tottenham's the right club for him to make the next step.

"He'll fit in with the group well and we've got quite a few in his age bracket. We want to build a team who will grow together and hopefully he'll be a part of that.

"We've been working on the centre-back position since the summer window, pretty much. There's been a whole list of players we've worked through methodically, and a lot of that has been done by the scouting department and Johan [Lange, sporting director]. I got the further detail presented to me six weeks ago or so.

"From then on Radu was one on the radar of being a good option for us, and from then on it was about getting as much information about him as a player and a person as we could.

"We had him scouted again, and from my mind once we got down to the real detail I thought he was the best option for us, and before the window opened we settled on that.

"I like his defensive and offensive attributes, there's a lot of improvement in him when he's only 21, and he fits the profile of the kind of player we want here."

'Height and character make Dragusin stand out'

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Italian football expert Mina Rzouki told Sky Sports:

"Let's start with the good stuff. He is an interesting character as straightaway when he was at Juventus and was handed his debut by Andrea Pirlo, what stood out was his size.

"He's so tall and has got great physique. It's really difficult to win a duel against him. He owns everything on an aerial level. He's very strong and aggressive in his type of defending.

"Pirlo wanted him to train with the first-team squad to improve his technique and what you see at Genoa is that he is now better on the ball.

Dragusin has been excelling in Serie A this term
Image: Dragusin has been excelling in Serie A this term

"He's not a ball-playing defender and is not someone who is going to progress the ball on his own at the back, but he delivers a great long pass and it's also very difficult to dribble past him.

"He's not super fast but fast enough. He's going to be difficult to beat at set-pieces and he loves to score a goal.

"He recently scored the equaliser against Inter Milan to ensure Genoa earned a point.

Dragusin compares favourably with Spurs' defenders

"One thing that everyone who has ever worked with Dragusin has told me is that the first thing they notice is his size, but secondly and most importantly it is his character that has stood out.

"Everyone talks about his exemplary professionalism, how hard he works, how much he is willing to learn and improve.

"It's so rare to find these days when you're looking for players. He understands what it takes to be the best and he is working every day to improve the skills he has."

How did he turn down Bayern?

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"Dragusin's agent said he couldn't believe his player turned down Bayern but it's something to note about the player that he did give his word to Ange Potecoglou and he has honoured it," said Rzouki.

"That's part of his character but he's followed the Premier League closely and it's the league he's always wanted to join.

"He feels it will suit his skills perfectly. It also has a lot to do with the character of the coach. He spoke previously about his relationship with Andrea Pirlo.

"What stood out for him was the way that he approached the dressing room so calmly. He was never an authoritarian who shouted and screamed at his players but just commanded respect.

"He was encouraging and motivating. He found that exciting to work with. He wanted to please him and he wanted to work with him.

"He found that at Genoa working under Alberto Gilardino. He's very loved in the dressing room and may feel he has found the same thing with Postecoglou at Spurs."

Brassell: Dragusin has better chance of progressing at Spurs

European football journalist Andy Brassell on The Transfer Show:

"Looking at the Dragusin deal, it's good for him because he will have a better way of progressing at Tottenham.

"Bayern have been a bit of a defensive mess for a while so to get a 21-year-old and go 'Ok, fix it', is a bit much. That would be a very stiff learning curve.

Dragusin has impressed for Genoa this term

"But Tottenham have already got Romero, Van de Ven and it takes pressure off both Van de Ven and Dragusin. Maybe they could play together eventually but ideally, you would play just one of them for the moment because they're not a 'dive in' kind of defender.

"I'm not saying what Romero's like as a defender, but he's a bit different, shall we say.

"You can look at it in two ways. One is that there is a relatively small sample size in Serie A because Genoa have only just been promoted, but they have been very good and have had some eye-catching results. That's what has quickened his transfer.

"People were always waiting for that confirmation. Ever since he was a kid at Juventus, he was very feted. Giorgio Chiellini took him under his wing and guided him, they're still quite close.

"He advised him to go out and play football. That's what he did in Serie B last season and played very well. Because they were so good at that level, he got plenty of time on the ball and he's someone who is not more confident at bringing the ball out.

"He's quick, he's great in the air, he doesn't dive into tackles, but he wants to get towards the halfway line and that's exactly what Ange wants."

Follow the January transfer window

The winter transfer window is now open and will close at 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland on Thursday 1 February, 2024.

To ensure harmonisation with the major leagues in Europe, the closing dates were set following discussions with the EFL, DFL, Serie A, LaLiga, and LFP, who will all close their summer and winter windows on 1 September and 1 February respectively.

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms, while you can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News, including daily transfer shows, and listen to our Transfer Talk podcast.

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