Soccer

Nottingham Forest ‘admit defeat’ over Djed Spence with £20m Tottenham move close

Nottingham Forest have reportedly admitted defeat in their pursuit of Middlesbrough's Djed Spence with the former loan star set to seal a £20million switch to Tottenham Hotspur.

The England youth international, 21, enjoyed a stellar spell at the City Ground last campaign as Forest secured promotion to the Premier League with a playoff final victory over Huddersfield Town. Once a giant of European football, the East Midlands side have not featured in the top-flight since before the turn of the millennium.

Spence was a key part of Forest's resurgence under Steve Cooper – netting three goals and five assists from right-back – with memorable FA Cup performances against Arsenal and Leicester City.

The Forest boss had made no secret of the fact he would like to retain his services for their upcoming Premier League campaign. But, according to reports in the Northern Echo, the newly-promoted side are set to end their interest in Spence after admitting defeat to Tottenham.

The north Londoners are still yet to submit a formal offer for the 21-year-old but sources have indicated Spurs are readying a £20m offer and the opportunity of Champions League football is said to be too appealing to turn down.

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Spence would also reportedly prefer a move back to London – the youngster joined Middlesbrough in 2018 upon release from Fulham.

Forest could now eye a deal for Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who spent the second half of the season on loan at AS Roma. The versatile wing-back was used fleetingly by Mikel Arteta in the early stages of the campaign but was deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates.

Yet to stake a claim for a regular starting berth, Maitland-Niles could be permitted a permanent move away from Arsenal due to the end of Hector Bellerin's loan stint at Real Betis.

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