Tottenham Hotspur could finally end their Tanguy Ndombele nightmare this summer…
Spurs sporting director Fabio Paratici is currently in Milan to discuss several potential deals, both incoming and outgoing, and it is thought that AS Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo is on the agenda.
Jose Mourinho’s side have just signed Paulo Dybala and whilst it remains to be seen exactly how he’ll fit in, it could impact the Italian’s place in the starting lineup, given they play similar roles.
Some reports have suggested that the 23-year-old is valued at around €50m (£43m).
A creative playmaker is thought to be high on the agenda for Tottenham now that they have secured six new signings, ranging from new wing-backs in Ivan Perisic and Djed Spence to a left-sided centre-back in Clement Lenglet and a standout swoop for Richarlison to bolster the attack even more.
All that is really missing is that no.10-type figure, even if Antonio Conte’s initial system doesn’t cater for it. Finding a player of this calibre will allow him to change it up in-game or allow for further midweek rotation.
It also would mean that Ndombele is pushed closer to the exit door, having been left at home for their pre-season trip to South Korea in a bid to resolve his future. Often dubbed “very lazy” throughout his tenure, Spurs’ club-record £55m dud has failed to hit the heights expected from such a price tag.
After being shipped out on loan in January to former club Lyon, it’s abundantly clear that he has no part to play in Conte’s plans. Paratici can give him a nudge towards the door by signing Zaniolo, who appears to be streets ahead of the Frenchman.
The Italian provided eight goals and nine assists across 42 appearances under Mourinho last season, an impressive feat considering his injury history. This is also a step up to that of Ndombele, who has only managed ten goals and nine assists across a three-year spell.
His form over in Italy has earned plenty of praise and even some exciting comparisons. According to his former Inter coach Stefano Vecchi, the 6 foot 3 midfielder is “a [Steven] Gerrard, [Frank] Lampard-type player.”
Meanwhile, Roma legend Francesco Totti believes Zaniolo is an “explosive” talent and that he has “everything it takes to become a truly great player”.
An average of 1.2 key passes per 90 minutes throughout his career to date suggests that he is consistent when it comes to delivering in the final third and that is something that can’t be said for Ndombele, who has failed to surpass 0.7 key passes per 90 in each of the last two Premier League seasons.
It’s time to offload the French flop and a move for Zaniolo instead could pay serious dividends. It makes a lot more sense given the Italian connections.