Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a further setback to Cristian Romero ahead of their Premier League clash with Brentford this evening…
Spurs boss Antonio Conte is set to be without the Argentina centre-back until the New Year at the earliest as he delivered a fresh update on the situation to reporters during his pre-game press conference on Wednesday.
“The news is not positive, not good. The injury is serious and I think it will take time before to see him again,” the 52-year-old admitted (via football.london).
“Surely next year and we need to check his injury week by week but the injury is serious.
“Now he is trying to recover, he needs a long time. He needs time to recover. It’s a pity because he’s an important player for us but the injury is very serious.
“January, February I don’t know but 2021 is finished to play. We have to wait to recover well but the injury is serious.”
Meanwhile, the Italian provided some encouragement on Romero’s international teammate, Giovani Lo Celso, who also returned from the break with a problem – and whilst it was more positive, he will not be available tonight either.
“The situation with Gio is much better than Romero,” he added. “My expectation is to see him the day after we play Brentford.”
This is hugely worrying news as Spurs’ defensive fragility was once again exposed last week as they were defeated by the Europa Conference League’s lowest-ranked side, Slovenian minnows NS Mura, in the competition.
In the absence of Romero, who joined on loan from Atalanta this summer, Conte is limited on reliable and experienced options to partner Eric Dier, and most likely left-back Ben Davies, at the back.
Davinson Sanchez is the most senior of the remaining choices but he has failed to cement his place in the squad since joining in a £42m deal from Ajax back in 2017.
And then there are two younger prospects in Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon.
The former was withdrawn just after an hour in his first start under Conte and similarly, the latter was taken off after just 54 minutes during last Thursday’s humiliation, so it is rather telling that the Spurs boss misses Romero.
Indeed, as Conte suggests, the 23-year-old colossus is “an important player” for the north Londoners this season – per WhoScored, he is their highest-rated defender in the Premier League, averaging a rating of 6.75.
Romero’s teammate at both Atalanta and here in north London, Pierluigi Gollini, dubbed him an “animal” who is “perfect for the Premier League” to the Evening Standard back in September, whilst Serie A expert Conor Clancy believes he’s a “phenomenal” talent.
On that evidence alone, it’s clear to see that he’s crucial to the squad and Conte will be bitterly disappointed and perhaps fuming heading into kick-off this evening.
To not have either of Romero or Lo Celso available is incredibly bad news for the manager.
AND in other news, Conte could make his first big Spurs mistake over “flawless” £18m-rated star…