Football News

Who is Jota? ‘The next Cristiano Ronaldo’ linked with Spurs move

By Ben Green

Published: 10:40, 21 May 2019

Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly been keeping tabs on Benfica winger Jota and will make a move to secure his services this summer.

According to Portuguese publication Record, Mauricio Pochettino has earmarked the Lisbon-born wonderkind as the ideal forward to reinforce his attacking armoury.

Who is Jota? Five key things to know…

  • Age: 20
  • Position: Left winger
  • Career path so far: Benfica B (2017 -), Benfica (2018 -)
  • Key stat: During his four Primeira Liga appearances in 2017/18 Jota created 3.2 chances per 90 minutes – the second-highest ratio of any Benfica player.
  • Did you know? Jota has earned the moniker ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’ courtesy of his impressive displays for Benfica.

Having previously become the first ever Premier League club to not sign a player across a single campaign, Spurs could be set for a busy window this time around as Pochettino looks to build on a stellar season.

The Argentine’s current crop of superstars are about to embark on a Champions League final against Liverpool, but there is a growing sense that the Lilywhites will undergo a slight transformation this summer.

As such, Jota could be in line to relocate to north London. The 20-year-old is highly sought-after across the continent, with the cream of Europe rumoured to be queuing up for his signature.

Earlier in the campaign, O Jogo suggested Bayern Munich were exploring the possibility of bringing him to Bavaria, while Real Madrid have also been associated with his signature.

However, Spurs are now hot favourites to land the prodigiously-gifted tyro, and with a reported £26.3m release clause, his acquisition comes at a modest price, but what exactly would he offer to a Spurs side already brimming with attacking quality?

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Style of play

Cast your mind back to the Under-19s European Championship last year in Finland. Portugal, under the tactical watch of Helio Sousa, clinched the coveted price, defeating Moise Kean’s Italy in the final.

There were two standout performers in the blue ribbon tournament for youth football: Jota and his teammate Francisco Trincao.

Both wingers finished the finals on five goals apiece, making them the competition’s joint-top goalscorers, but it was their wonderment from the wings, rather than prowess in front of goal, that really caught the eye.

Jota, with his balletic brilliance and majestic gait, drew rave reviews and comparisons with a certain Ronaldo naturally followed as he was named in the team of the tournament.

As such, many were predicting this term to be the breakthrough year for the Portugal Under-19 playmaker, but opportunities have so far proven sporadic at the Estadio da Luz.

However, with versatility in the final third, twinkle-toed feet and an impressive 13 goals and 16 assists for Benfica B this season, Jota should be set for a more prominent role next term – the question is: who with?

From Benfica to Spurs?

Benfica, a hotbed for producing young talent and unearthing some of Portugal’s most gifted players, has been enjoying the fruits of its famed academy in Seixal in recent years, reaping the rewards of its esteemed youth set-up.

The likes of Bernardo Silva, Andre Gomes, Joao Cancelo and Goncalo Guedes have all earned their footballing educations at Benfica, and are just some of the famous alumni to have emerged from the prestigious academy over the past few years.

And little has changed, with coach Bruno Lage affording plenty of playing time to young talent, with the likes of Ruben Dias, Joao Felix and Gedson Fernandes all flourishing under his auspices.

“It was crucial to have younger players in the first team. It’s important for others young players from Seixal to believe that it’s possible to reach the main team in the future.

It was a huge achievement for us and especially for the fans who have supported this group of young people immensely.”

– Lage on youth policy at Benfica

Jota is the next in line to take the spotlight, but he may not be given his chance to fully showcase his worth on home soil, with some of Europe’s biggest clubs circling the Estadio da Luz.

A buy-out clause of just £26.3m is an absolute snip in today’s market, and with question marks hanging over the heads of Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko, Jota could prove the perfect panacea to Pochettino’s potential puzzle.

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