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rewrite this title Tottenham impressed by Koki Machida in search for defensive reinforcements

Tottenham Hotspur have been impressed with the performances of Union Saint-Gilloise’s Koki Machida this season as their search for a new defender continues, sources have confirmed to 90min.

Spurs’ fast start to the 2023/24 season under new head coach Ange Postecoglou was slightly curtailed before the November international break by a sudden injury and suspension crisis which exposed their lack of depth, starting a back four of Pedro Porro, Eric Dier, Ben Davies and Emerson Royal in their 2-1 loss at Wolves.

90min has previously reported that Tottenham’s top priority for the January transfer window is to sign another defender more suited to playing in Postecoglou’s system, with Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly among their key targets after failing to sign him during the summer and Everton’s Ben Godfrey emerging as a potential option.

Sources have now told 90min that Spurs have been keeping an eye on Japan international Machida – a left-sided centre-back with the physical qualities required to play in Postecoglou’s aggressive high line.

Ange Postecoglou

Postecoglou would like a new defender / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Machida initially joined Union on an 18-month loan midway through the 2021/22 season from hometown club Kashima Antlers, where he played 116 games across a five-year spell. He then signed for Union on a permanent deal this summer and in the past was on the radar of Brighton & Hove Albion, whose owner Tony Bloom previously held a majority stake in the Belgian side.

Postecoglou spent three seasons in Japan with Yokohama F Marinos between 2018 and 2021, guiding them to their first J. League title in 15 years during his second season. It was at this point that Machida was rising to prominence in his home country.

During his two years at Celtic, Postecoglou relied on his knowledge of the Asian market to bring in star players unbeknownst to the rest of Scottish football, with the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda going on to become roaring successes at Parkhead.

Furuhashi and Hatate were considered by Spurs shortly after Postecoglou’s arrival in north London, but they chose to pursue other targets instead.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are weighing up a move for another ex-Celtic star in Jota, who is looking to leave Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad as soon as possible.

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