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Spurs: Nicolo Zaniolo wants January switch

Tottenham Hotspur chief Fabio Paratici could be about to repeat his Dejan Kulusevski masterclass…

What’s the word?

According to Sport Mediaset, the Lilywhites are trying to sign AS Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo on an initial loan with an obligation to buy of around €20m (£18m) based on certain conditions, such as qualifying for the Champions League.

The Serie A outfit want a permanent deal for around €40m (£35m), with less than 18 months to run on his current £78.6k-per-week contract at the Stadio Olimpico.

Should Paratici sign Zaniolo for Spurs this month?

YES!

YES!

NO!

NO!

It’s believed that Paratici has opened talks with the Europa Conference League champions but Premier League rivals West Ham United, Newcastle United and Leicester City are also keen.

The report also states that Zaniolo has said ‘yes’ to moving this month, so the onus is very much now on Spurs and their recruitment staff.

Shades of Kulusevski again

This switch would very much have shades of last January when Tottenham landed Kulusevski on an initial loan from Juventus. As per Fabrizio Romano, it will become permanent for €35m (£30m), either by qualifying for the UCL or paying a fee outright.

The Sweden dynamo has become an instant hit in north London, having provided 20 goal contributions in his 35 appearances. This season, his influence in the final third has been crucial, leading the way for creativity with an average of two key passes per game, via WhoScored.

It does mean, however, that Antonio Conte’s side struggle in his absence, so adding more playmakers to the team would certainly be a smart move with a little over a week to go in the window.

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Who scored Tottenham's first goal of 2022?

Zaniolo could be the answer, earning statistical likeness to players such as Heung-min Son, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, per FBref‘s model.

The Italy international is capable of playing anywhere behind the striker and whilst injuries have somewhat thwarted his progress this term, he has still delivered five goal contributions from 1,106 minutes of game time. That continues from last season’s returns of eight goals and nine assists across all competitions.

Such form and exploits have seen him lauded as a “frightening talent” by CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs and “explosive” by ex-Roma star Francesco Totti.

There is also a touch of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard about him, according to former Inter Milan coach Stefano Vecchi, so those comparisons – tied in with the aforementioned comparable trio – bode well for Zaniolo’s chances of making a successful transition to the Premier League, just as Kulusevski has done.

As such, with Spurs needing more creativity and depth, Paratici must push ahead with plans to sign the “lethal playmaker” – as described by journalist Zach Lowry – this month, given the evidence above.

AND in other news, “A wise move…” – Journalist backs out-of-work 50 y/o as “perfect” Conte replacement