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Spurs can finally replace Eriksen with Nicolo Zaniolo

Tottenham Hotspur could finally land an attacking midfielder to fill the void left behind by Christian Eriksen a very long time ago…

What’s the word?

It has emerged that Spurs are looking to sign Nicolo Zaniolo from AS Roma before deadline day next week and now reliable transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has delivered an update on their pursuit to his YouTube channel.

“Roma are prepared to let him leave in January but Roma, at the moment, want around €35-40m for Zaniolo and a permanent transfer, not a loan. But Tottenham have decided in a very clear way that they will only sign Nicolo Zaniolo on loan, then, of course, this loan could include a buy option,” he said.

“Tottenham are speaking to them about Zaniolo; I’m told the player would be really keen on the move, so the player would be happy to join Premier League in general and Tottenham in this case.”

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Shades of Eriksen

If you take a look into the Lilywhites’ current crop of players, then you’ll quickly see the lack of a true no.10 or creative attacking midfielder. A lot of reliance has been bestowed upon Dejan Kulusevski, who in the past few months has had injury troubles to worry about.

Whilst manager Antonio Conte doesn’t often deploy a system that caters for a central playmaker, it doesn’t hurt to have one available at his disposal and perhaps that could make him tweak his tactics in a bid to stop the inconsistencies on the pitch.

Zaniolo could be the man to finally fill that Eriksen-like gap in north London, particularly as Spurs tried to sign their ex-playmaker before he opted for a move to Premier League rivals Manchester United. That would suggest there was some intent to berth a creative protagonist, at least.

Since the start of the 2021/22 campaign, the Italy international has scored ten goals and laid on 12 assists, averaging one direct contribution every 177 minutes, per Transfermarkt. That includes a key influence in Roma’s triumph in the Europa Conference League last term too.

Considering Erisken managed a goal or assist every 151 minutes in a Lilywhites shirt, those returns from Zaniolo are pretty good indeed, especially when you consider the fact that he has also been deployed out wide.

Once lauded as a “lethal playmaker” by journalist Zach Lowry, it’s clear that the 23-year-old has the potential to be a bustling and imaginative influence on this Spurs squad in the final third, with only Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic managing more than three assists in the top-flight so far.

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A truly wasted talent...

Meanwhile, in the past, Zaniolo has been likened to players such as Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, which not only bodes well for his potential transition into a new country and surroundings but also the aforementioned point of being a threat in the final third as both legends were renowned for their attacking ability, despite being central midfielders.

Therefore, the Roma star could well be the “provider” and “creative force” that Spurs desperately need – in the words of one Sky Sports pundit – so sporting director Fabio Paratici must look to get this Kulusevski-like deal over the line this week.

AND in other news, Forget Tuchel: Levy can save Spurs from Conte nightmare by hiring “exceptional” 50 y/o