Chelsea man among backup trio, as Spurs cover all bases in defender hunt

Date published: Tuesday 27th July 2021 7:37 - Samuel Bannister

Tottenham Hotspur are intensifying their efforts to sign Cristian Romero, according to reports – but one expert claims they have three alternative ideas.

Romero won the award for the best defender in Serie A last season after helping Atalanta stay in the top four. Now, the on-loan Juventus defender is in further demand. Atalanta will buy him permanently for €16m and could turn a quick profit by selling him.

Spurs are particularly keen, thanks to the appointment of ex-Juventus man Fabio Paratici as managing director. However, a recent report revealed that Tottenham were yet to meet the asking price, despite Romero being willing to make the move.

Atalanta were supposedly holding out for a guaranteed payment of €55m, which may have forced Tottenham to consider other options. Indeed, it now appears they are – but Romero remains their top target.

According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are now “stepping up” their pursuit of the Argentina international. He is their main target at centre-back, which is an obvious area for improvement for Nuno Espirito Santo’s newly inherited squad.

Several of Spurs’ current defenders are being linked with moves away. Therefore, better quality replacements will be required.

After taking Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta, Tottenham have already been in communication with the selling club.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano corroborates that Romero is “100%” the priority for Tottenham. He tweeted late on Monday that Spurs are still in talks with Atalanta, but backed up previous reports that they are yet to stump up the €55m asking price.

Intriguingly, he added that they have three other players in consideration, who are worth as much as Romero combined.

Namely, they are looking at Bologna’s Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic and Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma.

Links with Tomiyasu and Milenkovic are nothing new, with Paratici once again using his knowledge of the Serie A market. The former has also been linked with Atalanta, but only if they need to replace Romero. So in theory, if Tottenham miss out on one, they should be able to get the other.

As for Milenkovic, Spurs were recently mentioned as the sole suitors for the once in-demand Serbian defender. Just like their pursuit of Romero, though, they would need to raise any offer they have made.

The suggestion of Zouma seems to be a new one. He started 22 Premier League games for London rivals Chelsea last season, but faces an uncertain future there.

The Frenchman has already been linked with a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Roma, or a return to Everton, where he once enjoyed a loan spell.

A move across the capital would come as something of a surprise. But if the deal suits both clubs, they will certainly think about it.

One name not on the shortlist, despite some recent links, is Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car. Romano denied that the Croatian is even an option for Spurs.

Prices revealed for triple Tottenham targets

Romano reveals that the asking prices for Tomiyasu, Milenkovic and Zouma are €18m, €15m and €25m respectively. Thus, the one with Premier League experience would also be the most costly.

Milenkovic is the cheapest option by virtue of his contract expiring in one year. Both he and the versatile Tomiyasu would represent good value for money.


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But Zouma is the eldest of the trio and his prior experience in England could be beneficial if Spurs decide the price is worth paying.

In theory, they could sign all three for around the same price they would have to pay for Romero. It seems they are still looking to take two new centre-backs, so unless they opt for one big spend with Romero, perhaps a couple of these players could arrive.

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