Tottenham make Nicolo Zaniolo decision after swap deal discussions

Rob McCarthy
Nicolo Zaniolo; Bryan Cristante TEAMtalk

Tottenham have reportedly decided not to pursue a deal for long-time target Nicolo Zaniolo after Roma slapped a £62m asking price on his head.

Spurs held talks about a swap involving Zaniolo and defender Toby Alderweireld last summer, but ended up moving for other targets instead, including midfield duo Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso.

However, the north London club have still been tracking the highly-rated 20-year-old Italy midfielder, with a view to renewing their interest this summer.

But while Zaniolo could hit the market because of money worries at the Serie A ouftit, Spurs believe he is overpriced and out of their budget, according to a report in the Daily Star.

Jose Mourinho wants reinforcements brought in for next season, but has already warned the club’s fans that he does not expect to be able to spend big.

The Portuguese is also prioritising a different profile of midfielder, with Zaniolo considered more of an attacking talent than the kind of defensive player he is looking for.

Spurs are said to have been offered Inter Milan misfit Matias Vecino, a player Mourinho likes and who is rated at a more reasonable £18m, although no talks have been scheduled for the 41-cap Uruguay international.

Signing a new centre-back is also on Mourinho’s agenda, with Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma being tipped as a surprise target, as Spurs prepare for the exit of stalwart Jan Vertonghen this summer.

One player being tipped to stay, hwowever, is versatile midfielder Eric Dier – with the England man being tipped to pen a new deal in north London and be given more game time next season, if he can improve his fitness levels.



Meanwhile, Mourinho has identified Wolves star Ruben Neves as a potential target for Tottenham, according to reports.

Neves has been a pivotal figure in Wolves’ rise from the Championship to the Europa League, making 125 appearances in all competitions over the past three seasons.

Still only 23 years old, the midfielder has been tipped for a move to a bigger club, even if he admitted earlier this season that he was not thinking about that just yet.

Nonetheless, the Premier League’s biggest sides are queuing up for the former Porto star, with Manchester United showing an interest back in January.

Now, according to Le10 Sport, Mourinho wants to take his Portuguese compatriot to Tottenham ahead of his first summer transfer window in charge of the club. Read more…