Tottenham Hotspur are in fresh talks to sign Nicolo Zaniolo from AS Roma…
That’s according to Foot Mercato journalist Santi Aouna, who has provided an update on the situation on Twitter, where he said:
“Info: New discussions planned this week between Roma and Tottenham for Zaniolo.
“In the direction of arrivals, the Giallorossi want to sign [Andrea] Belotti. Discussions scheduled for this week.”
It appears as if Spurs are pushing ahead with their intentions to seal the Italy international as their seventh signing of the summer, though it remains to be seen if it would be a permanent deal or an initial loan as some reports have suggested.
A price tag of around £42m has also been mentioned by other outlets.
Former Torino striker Andrea Belotti, who is available on a free transfer, could well take up his place in Jose Mourinho’s squad but he isn’t a like-for-like replacement. However, Paulo Dybala’s arrival could have forced Zaniolo down the pecking order.
Spurs have enjoyed quite a successful summer transfer window so far but they are perhaps one player away from it being an almost perfect spending spree.
Sporting director Fabio Paratici has sealed as many as six new signings, including a £60m splash on Richarlison, as well as £25m spent on Yves Bissouma and the £15m arrival of Djed Spence. Others have either been on a free transfer or on loan.
Some big problems seem to have been fixed, at least on paper.
Clement Lenglet, for example, becomes manager Antonio Conte’s only left-footed – and natural – central defender, whilst the aforementioned Brazilian forward can provide much-needed backup to Harry Kane.
He’s also versatile enough to play anywhere along the front three, so that makes midweek rotation a little easier with Spurs back in the Champions League.
However, there’s still a gaping issue in midfield as Conte is lacking a creative presence that can add goals and assists from the engine room, particularly with the likes of Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele reportedly on the chopping block.
Zaniolo can be the ideal solution.
Last season, the Italian dynamo proved to be one of Mourinho’s most-reliable options as he provided eight goals and nine assists across 42 appearances in all competitions, including the winner in their Europa Conference League triumph, as per Transfermarkt.
Zaniolo did so largely playing in a no.10-type role but he also featured up front, on the right and in a deeper midfield role, as a no.8.
It’s no wonder he has earned comparisons to that of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and Chelsea icon Frank Lampard.
“He will go places,” former Inter Milan coach Stefano Vecchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport (via GOAL). “He has the characteristics to become a modern mezzala. He’s a Gerrard, Lampard-type player.”
It’s those creative juices as well as his undoubted resilience, having bounced back from two ACL injuries, that will appeal immensely to Conte.
From Oliver Skipp, Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the Italian head coach does not have a creator available, so it makes sense for Paratici to push ahead with talks to sign the Roma sensation.
Zaniolo could be the answer and the final piece of the puzzle for Conte’s quest to bring silverware to N17.