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Spurs: Fabio Paratici could land Romero clone in Hincapie

Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a potential setback in their bid to bring Piero Hincapie to north London in the January transfer window.

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That’s according to a report by The Mirror, who claim that Chelsea have now made the ‘first move’ in a bid to land the Bayer 04 Leverkusen centre-back this winter, with Graham Potter and his technical team at Stamford Bridge believed to have been keeping a close eye on the 20-year-old during his outings at the Qatar World Cup for Ecuador.

This is sure to have come as a blow to Fabio Paratici and Spurs, as the Italian sporting director in the last week is also reported to be keen on a deal to bring the defender to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the winter window, with the Bundesliga side believed to be demanding a figure in the region of €40m (£34.5m) in order to part with the youngster in January.

Romero reincarnate

With Hincapie himself revealing in an interview with Scouted Football earlier this year that his brother believes he is “a lot like” Tottenham’s own Cristian Romero, coupled with just how impressive the centre-back has been for Ecuador at the World Cup thus far, it is not difficult to see why Paratci would be interested in a move for the 20-year-old in January.

Indeed, over his two appearances in Qatar, the £34.5m-rated talent has been a rock in the heart of the La Tri defence, helping his county keep one clean sheet, as well as making an average of 2.0 tackles, one interception, 2.5 clearances and winning 3.5 duels – at a success rate of 64% – per game.

The £19.5k-per-week defender has also impressed in possession, enjoying an average of 66.5 touches per match, in addition to playing 4.5 long balls, 3.0 chipped passes and completing 47 total passes – at a success rate of 85% – per fixture.

These returns have seen the player who David Cartlidge dubbed a “big talent” average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 7.00, currently ranking him as Gustavo Alfaro’s joint third-best performer in the World Cup – playing a key role in Ecuador’s 2-0 win over Qatar and their impressive 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

Furthermore, according to FBref, the 20-year-old also ranks in the top 15% of centre-backs in Europe’s big five leagues for tackles per 90, as well as the top 5% for blocks, the top 44% for interceptions, the top 4% for dribbles completed, the top 32% for progressive passes and the top 20% for shot-creating actions over the last 365 days.

As such, with the youngster who Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig labelled both “dominant” and “tenacious” quite clearly being a centre-back who is strong in the tackle and comfortable at playing and carrying the ball out from the back, it is easy to see why FBref list Romero as one of the 23-cap starlet’s most comparable players.

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However, while there are clear stylistic similarities between the Ecuadorian and the Argentinian, with Hincapie being left-footed and preferring to play on the left of a back three, it would very much appear as if the 20-year-old would actually make something of a perfect partner to Romero either side of Eric Dier in Antonio Conte’s three-man back line at Tottenham.

So, considering just how impressive a talent Hincapie clearly is, in addition to the fact the Leverkusen sensation looks to be a left-footed Romero reincarnation, it would indeed seem extremely wise for Paratici to launch a move for the defender this winter.