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Premier League • England

Tottenham risk losing £50m target to Arsenal as Mikel Arteta plots swoop for Italy talent

Nicolo Zaniolo and Nicolo Barella

Nicolo Zaniolo and Nicolo Barella in action during Roma vs Inter

Tottenham could face embarrassment in the pursuit of Nicolo Zaniolo as north London rivals Arsenal reportedly want to sign him next year.

Zaniolo registered eight goals and nine assists for Roma last season, helping Jose Mourinho’s side to finish sixth in Serie A and win the inaugural Europa Conference League. The attacking midfielder has had to deal with a shoulder problem this term and is yet to open his goalscoring account partly as a result of this injury.

Zaniolo has made seven appearances in all competitions though and will be hoping to get among the goals when Roma face Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday.

Despite his recent struggles, Zanilo’s stock remains high and Premier League clubs are apparently hoping to sign him for big money.

Tottenham are long-term admirers of the Italy international. Presumably, this is down to Fabio Paratici and Antonio Conte’s extensive knowledge of Serie A.

Spurs tried to sign Zaniolo in the summer but couldn’t get a deal over the line before the September 1 deadline.

They are now focusing on a 2023 deal for the star. However, Spurs will have to increase their offer if they are to get Zaniolo to join.

Roma rate him at £50million, whereas Spurs have only ever offered £40m for his signature.

Roma are hoping to prevent the 23-year-old’s exit by tying him down to a new contract. His current terms expire in summer 2024.

Zaniolo fielded questions about his contract situation in September. He says there is plenty of time to sort a renewal and that his ‘priority’ is to remain with Roma.

Despite this admission, Spurs remain on his trail. But they are at serious risk of losing out on him amid claims Arsenal are also in the transfer race.

Arsenal want prime Tottenham target

According to Sport Witness, who cite reports in Italy, Arsenal are ‘interested’ in snapping Zaniolo up.

They are ‘monitoring’ his contract situation at Roma and will swoop in if a new deal cannot be agreed, at the request of Mikel Arteta.

The revelation sets up a potential transfer battle between Arsenal and Spurs for Zaniolo. It would be an intriguing one given their intense rivalry.

The report also provides some information on Zaniolo’s contract demands and what Roma are offering.

He wants €4m (£3.5m) per season after tax, but Roma are only willing to go up to €3.5m (£3m).

The Italian outfit also want to put a €50m (£43.7m) release clause in Zaniolo’s contract. The player is willing to accept this, as long as all of his other requests are met by the club.

While Zaniolo publicly says he’s confident about remaining at Roma, clearly there are some money differences that need to be resolved.

Should the forward become available for transfer, then he will have a big decision to make between Arsenal and Spurs.

Arsenal are going in the right direction and are top of the Premier League after nine matches. Arteta is improving most of his players and could do the same with Zaniolo.

Spurs are only four points behind Arsenal and currently sit in third place. Conte is their boss and he could play a part in Zaniolo’s transfer decision.

Meanwhile, a pundit has picked out one Arsenal player as a weak point who could end up costing Arteta.