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What can Tottenham expect from new signing Radu Dragusin?

Tottenham have completed the signing of centre-back Radu Dragusin from Genoa, despite facing competition from some of Europe's top clubs.

The Romanian defender has had a rapid rise having played in Serie B as recently as last season. 

The Premier League is his next destination, so what should Tottenham supporters expect from the highly-rated 21-year-old defender? 

Genoa switch pays dividends for Dragusin

Dragusin may be short of top-flight experience but he was identified as a potential star when he was still a teenager, signing for Juventus as an Under-17s player in 2018.

Top clubs including Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain had also been monitoring Dragusin, who was born in Bucharest to parents who played for Romania in basketball and volleyball.

He made his debut for Juve in a Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev in December 2020 before spending the 2021/22 season on loan at Serie A strugglers Sampdoria and Salernitana.

Another loan spell followed in 2022/23 as Dragusin joined Serie B side Genoa. Benefiting from playing regularly, he appeared in all 38 league fixtures and helped his new club gain automatic promotion to the top flight.

Genoa triggered their option to sign Dragusin from Juventus on a permanent deal for a fee of around €5.5 million and that move has paid off handsomely this season.

The centre-back has started Genoa's first 19 Serie A matches, in which they have conceded only 24 goals, and they have drawn 1-1 with leaders Inter Milan and second-placed Juve in their last two home games.

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Versatile centre-back should strengthen Spurs

Dragusin's arrival at Tottenham is part of a defensive January reshuffle for the Lilywhites as long-serving England international Eric Dier is poised to seal a surprise move to Bayern Munich.

The German champions were also reportedly interested in signing Dragusin but his agent told Romanian media that Spurs "is the right step in his career".

Postecoglou's first-choice centre-backs Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven have had their 2023/24 campaigns disrupted by injuries, so the 6ft 3in Dragusin should be a commanding presence in the Spurs backline and the Tottenham manager will be eager to unleash his new signing in the Premier League.

He is quick, strong in the air, and his distribution and reading of the game have improved over the past couple of seasons with Genoa, earning him comparisons with Liverpool and Netherlands star Virgil van Dijk. He also poses an aerial threat from attacking set-pieces, scoring six goals in 56 league starts for the Italian club.   

Dragusin's maturity is reflected by his excellent disciplinary record, with just one yellow card in 19 Serie A appearances this season, and his versatility is another positive for Spurs boss Postecoglou.

The youngster has played in the middle of a back three at Genoa while he has also flourished as one of two centre-backs in a back four for Romania.   

International performances bode well for Tottenham new boy

It promises to be an exciting year for Dragusin as he aims to establish himself in the Premier League before heading to the Euros with Romania this summer.

He started all 10 of Romania's qualifying matches, producing a series of impressive performances as his country topped Qualifying Group I ahead of Switzerland and Israel.

Romania conceded only five goals in those 10 qualifiers and Dragusin, who made his senior international debut in March 2022, is already a key player for national coach Edi Iordanescu.

It may take a little time for him to adapt to English football, particularly as he will be playing for one of the most attack-minded managers in the Premier League.

Postecoglou's Tottenham have kept only one clean sheet in their last 11 league matches and their results since the start of November include a 4-1 home defeat to Chelsea, a 3-3 draw away to champions Manchester City, and a 4-2 loss at Brighton on 28th December.

Spurs have had to field a makeshift defence in several of those games – Ben Davies and Emerson Royal started at centre-back in the defeat at Brighton, for example – so Dragusin's arrival should strengthen their bid for Champions League qualification.

Andrea Pirlo gave Dragusin his debut at Juventus and plenty of other good judges have been impressed by the youngster since then.

He is a work-in-progress, having played fewer than 40 top-flight games at club level, but his displays in Serie A and Euro 2024 Qualifying suggest he has the attributes to become a top-class defender.

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