Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a potential transfer blow as it looks like they are set to face competition from La Liga giants Barcelona for the services of Atalanta defender Cristian Romero.
Spurs have been heavily linked with a move the Argentina international in recent weeks, although new technical director Fabio Paratici is still thought to be some way short of his £51 million asking price.
But now, according to the Italian outlet Sportitalia (as reported by the Daily Mail), Barcelona are preparing to outbid the capital club for the 23-year-old in an attempt to secure the youngster’s signature.
The report claims Barca have been monitoring Romero’s situation closely for some time, but the La Liga giants are now expected to make a formal bid over the coming days.
With Paratici’s last bid believed to be around £42m for the South American centre-back – £9m short of Atalanta’s evaluation – a large section of Spurs fans are likely to be worried about this latest development.
The north London outfit are in need of reinforcements at the heart of defence following the departure of experienced campaigner Toby Alderweireld, and getting Romero would be a major coup.
Italian football expert Conor Clancy waxed lyrical about the youngster’s exploits during an exclusive interview with This is Futbol recently.
“He has been phenomenal as he won the MVP award for the best defender in Serie A, but he is one of the most deceptively dirty players in the Serie A. However, when he has the ball, his distribution and passing is so, so good,” said Clancy.
“Romero can pick out a 50-yard pass onto the foot of a striker perfectly but it’s something that goes a little bit unnoticed because his defensive work is so good, and he is a top, top defender.”
After joining Gian Piero Gasperini’s side on loan last summer, Romero was a standout performer for La Dea, recording 3.1 interceptions, two tackles, 2.2 clearances and winning 6.9 duels per game throughout his 31 Serie A appearances.
The combative centre-back also contributed in the final third of the pitch for Atalanta, bagging two goals, laying on three assists for his teammates, illustrating his top-class ability.
Spurs are in desperate need of added quality in their backline after struggling defensively last term, but it seems as though they’ll face stiff competition as they attempt to convince Romero to join Nuno Espirito Santo’s new era.
Barca’s interest in the Spurs target will likely be a big worry for fans of the North London side.