Attacking midfielder could listen to Tottenham if they blow budget for summer deal

Milan Skriniar heading the ball away from Nicolo Zaniolo

Tottenham Hotspur have been showing an interest in Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, but reports reveal they may not be able to afford him.

Zaniolo was of interest to Tottenham before he suffered an ACL injury in the summer of 2020. The second blow of its type he had received that year, he was subsequently on the sidelines for the entirety of last season. But this year he is back, and so is Spurs’ interest.

Ex-Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has restored Zaniolo to a role of prominence with Roma. His output has not quite been the same as before, but he has earned the trust of his coach.

And there are several Premier League clubs keeping an eye on his renewed progress. Liverpool appear to be strong suitors, while Manchester United have also been linked.

Tottenham’s interest dates far back – coincidentally, to when Mourinho was in charge there – and was recently revealed to be still alive.

Now, Il Tempo have confirmed that Tottenham and Juventus are interested in Zaniolo. However, Roma have set an asking price of €50m.

Both of Zaniolo’s main suitors spent significantly in January. Therefore, there are doubts as to whether they could afford him in the summer.

Tottenham could consequently back down in the battle for the attacking midfielder, who can play as a winger or a support striker. However, should they stump up the cash required, Roma would consider their offer still.

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As for Zaniolo himself, he could give thought to a new challenge if his club listen to an offer. He is currently waiting for a contract renewal from his current employers. His existing terms are due to run out in 2024.

The Italy international wants a payrise to match Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini as their highest earner. But Roma will not be making such a commitment until the summer.

By then, Tottenham should have worked out whether they want to allocate some of their budget on a transfer for Zaniolo or not.

Zaniolo transfer would take up big portion of Paratici budget

Tottenham target Nicolo Zaniolo

It will be a big summer in north London. The focus will be on managing director Fabio Paratici after he made some signings in January but missed out on other targets.

He brought Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur to the club from his former employers Juventus. But deals for Luis Diaz and Adama Traore slipped through his fingers.

The pressure is on, then, to ensure Tottenham have a more successful summer. Indeed, it will be their first with Antonio Conte at the helm; the coach has already been discussing their transfer policy and hinting at some disagreements.

Conte wants to sign first-team ready players, while believing the club are focusing on youth. Adding someone like Zaniolo, who turns 23 in July and has been a senior player for Roma since 2018, could fit between both strategies.

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But their chances of getting him appear to be small unless they are willing to make a major investment.

If they did spend €50m on Zaniolo, he would be their second most expensive recruit of all time. Their current record signing was the €60m-rated Tanguy Ndombele.

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