Tottenham are reportedly ready to go head-to-head with Premier League rivals Manchester United in a bid to sign an outstanding Serie A centre-back.
Both clubs are in the market for at least one new central defender this summer, and it would appear that an Argentina star is very much near the top of their respective wishlists. Cristian Romero is the name in question, with the 22-year-old playing a key role as his country ended their 28-year wait to win the Copa America over the weekend.
Romero joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juventus last summer and has been a revelation since his move to Bergamo.
Atalanta have the option of signing the defender for a bargain £13.7m this summer, a year ahead of schedule.
That is something they are expected to pick up, with a view to cashing in immediately. Indeed, they are looking for more than three times that amount to sell.
While that fee may be a little steep for Daniel Levy’s liking, Fabio Paratici’s has reportedly given the move a thumbs up.
Romero, who was voted the best defender in Serie A last season, is said to be open to a move to England.
Man Utd hold all the cards
However, United appear to have a big advantage – if they decide to make their interest concrete. The fact that the Red Devils will be in the Champions League completely gazumps Tottenham in that regard.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have a Europa Conference League play-off on the horizon. But at this stage, it’s unclear what sort of a side they will field for that.
The third-tier European competition could be a hindrance to their league campaign. That would in turn damage their hopes of getting back into the top four this coming season.
As for United, the search for a world-class partner for Harry Maguire continues. Several names have come and gone, although Raphael Varane remains their top target.