That’s according to a report by Italian media outlet Calciomercato (via Sport Witness), who claim that, after being heavily linked with the AS Roma forward in the summer, Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici are once again keen on a move for the 23-year-old this month, with Jose Mourinho’s side said to be demanding a figure of €50m (£45m) to part with the Italy international.
However, the report goes on to suggest that Spurs are not the only Premier League side in pursuit of the playmaker this winter, with the ‘increasingly ambitious’ Newcastle United also thought to be ‘waiting for new developments’ regarding the attacker’s future ahead of potentially launching their own offer for the Romanista prior to January’s transfer deadline.
With it being reported that Conte is keen to add an attacking midfielder to his current options in the middle of the park in January, it is easy to see why the 53-year-old manager would be interested in a deal to bring Zaniolo to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the winter transfer window.
Indeed, according to FBref, the £27m-rated talent currently ranks in the top 5% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for shots per 90, in addition to the top 22% for non-penalty xG, the top 14% for progressive passes received and the top 21% for touches in the opposition penalty area – proving just how much of a threat the Italy international is in the final third.
Furthermore, FBref also rank the £79k-per-week playmaker in the top 9% of forwards in Europe’s big five leagues for dribbles completed per 90, as well as the top 13% for shot-creating actions, the top 15% for xAG – xG which follows a pass that assists a shot – and the top 36% for progressive passes – highlighting Zaniolo’s creativity when in possession of the ball.
The 23-year-old also clearly puts in the work in a defensive capacity for his club, with FBref also ranking the Roma star in the top 25% of European forwards for blocks, the top 29% for tackles and the top 30% for interceptions per 90 – with this defensive work ethic being a trait Conte is known to favour in his attacking players.
As such, should Paratici manage to get a deal over the line for the 11-cap international – who journalist Nick Mercadante dubbed a “monster“, “unreal” and “the answer” for Italy – this month, he could well have landed Conte’s perfect attacking midfield target. That leads us to believe that the Tottenham sporting director simply must do all than he can to beat Newcastle to Zaniolo in January.