He's got the looks and the style...

Spurs have pre-ordered a hip-swinging Xavi regen stolen from beneath Barcelona’s noses

Tottenham are often the butt of the joke in football, but they’re cooking under Ange Postecoglou and after prizing away a certain rising star from the grasp of Barcelona, it might be time to take them more seriously.

No matter how far Barcelona might fall in the landscape of global football, and no matter how many economic levers they activate, we will always be able to measure the promise of a young midfielder based on how seriously La Blaugrana takes them.

So when they were fighting tooth and nail – and possibly creating more economic levers from nothing – to secure the signature of Lucas Bergvall in January 2024, it became quickly apparent that the teenager was a special prospect.

Throughout thick and thin, the one constant at Barcelona has been La Masia. For any teenage midfielder trying to make their way in football, the dream is always to be good enough to be learning the ways of tiki-taka in such an institution.

It’s a privilege of the highest order and an education like no other. So to turn that down in the eleventh hour in exchange for the land of sweaty tube journeys, £10 pints and shops you literally struggle to move in at times, you’re either stir crazy, five steps ahead or both.

Bergvall is quite possibly both and his rapid ascent in football thus far certainly backs that up.

The 18-year-old midfielder made his senior debut in the game at just 15 for second-tier Swedish side Brommapojkarna, spending time in training with Manchester United and Feyenoord before helping them to win promotion.

At just 18 – being born in February 2006, months after the release of the XBOX 360 – he’s already earned full international honours for Sweden and broken through as a regular for top-flight side Djurgarden, wowing top football executives across the biggest clubs in Europe while doing so.

We’re yet to figure out exactly why he made a U-turn on a deal that was set to see him sign for Barcelona in favour of joining Spurs ahead of the 2023-24 season. But from watching him strut his stuff, he’s the perfect blend of chaos and calm, which might go some way in explaining it.

Already capable of producing moments that will have you falling off your seat and making noises good enough to put Gary Neville out of work, Bergvall makes the most extraordinary feats look routine, like some sort of freakish teen superhero with flowy hair and perfect genetics.

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t jealous.

Anybody who can take the ball in their own half in a game of football, zap their way through several lines of play and brush off a handful of seniors before sticking the ball into the onion sack with a nonchalance like no other is a certified star. And Bergvall is already doing that.

Genuinely breathtaking work from the lad. From the very first turn on the ball and swivel of the hips, you just knew something special was coming.

If your humble Planet Football writer tried a turn anywhere near as snappy as that under the bright lights of Powerleague, an ambulance would be called in record speed.

Not for Bergvall, though, whose hips don’t lie and neither do his outrageous, solo wonder goals. The kid is the truth.

The irony is that there’s something quite Xavi-esque about the way the eyes in the back of his head work with the well-oiled hips and tricky feet.

Plenty will be thinking ‘what could’ve been’ regarding him in those famous blue and red stripes, but it’s clear Bergvall is headstrong enough to make the best decisions for him.

In fact, having the stomach to reject Barcelona at just 18 and instead opt for a more sustainable club right now speaks volumes about his maturity.

Barcelona might be the pipedream, but signing for Spurs this summer will give the Sweden international a genuine pathway to senior football in the most lucrative and competitive league in the world, in a side where his bravery and ability will be championed by Postecoglou.

North London is just the very beginning for Sweden’s next star.

By Mitch Wilks

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