Tottenham transfer falling apart with agreement claim dashed and new suitor preparing to hijack

Nicolo Zaniolo and Nicolo Barella

Claims Tottenham have agreed a fee to sign Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo have been dashed, with a new report adding the deal could now be hijacked by a European giant who have opened talks.

Spurs have two primary transfer targets this month – Zaniolo and Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Porro. Fabrizio Romano reported talks with Sporting are due to recommence today (Tuesday) after confirming the nature of Tottenham’s previous bid that was rejected.

Tottenham can take the decision out of Sporting’s hands by simply paying Porro’s £39.6m release clause. However, the signs are pointing towards Spurs continuing to haggle.

Regarding Zaniolo, Jose Mourinho’s Roma are understood to be open to cashing in this month.

The 23-year-old attacker has been on Tottenham’s radar for four successive windows, though if there was ever a time he’ll actually leave, it’s in the current one.

Zaniolo asked to be overlooked for selection in Roma’s 2-0 victory over Spezia on Sunday, per Sky Italia. That came after talks over a new contract in Rome concluded without common ground being found.

Roma value the 11-times capped Italy international between the €35m-€40m (approx. £31m-£35m) range.

They’d prefer an outright sale this month, though are open to a loan that contains an obligation to buy for a fee around their valuation.

90min reported Tottenham had lodged a loan bid that contained an obligation within Roma’s range. The fee was deemed satisfactory and was reportedly signed off on, with the finer details – such as how the obligation would be triggered – left to iron out.

However, according to Sky Italia, that report was wide of the mark.

First Tottenham bid rejected; new suitor in talks

They state Tottenham actually want the obligation to be worth around €20m-€25m (approx. £17.5m-£22m). Obviously, that is way below Roma’s valuation and as such, Spurs’ bid has reportedly been ‘declined’.

The article does, however, confirm 90min’s reporting on the structure of the clause. They add Tottenham only want the obligation to become active based on an appearance target and whether they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Because there is no guarantee that will actually occur, Roma will not accept a deal in that form.

Making matters worse for Spurs it the fact Serie A champions AC Milan are now in the mix.

It’s noted Milan have made ‘first contacts’ with Zaniolo’s camp and the player is even deemed receptive to moving to the San Siro.

Hampering their own chase is the fact they too don’t value Zaniolo as highly as Roma do. Milan are preparing to put forward a loan with an obligation worth around €19m that could rise to €22m (approx. £19.5m) through bonuses.

What’s more, they are also considering a loan with an obligation to buy centred around UCL qualification.

That’s unlikely to please Roma, though Milan are a far better bet in that regard than Tottenham, especially after Juventus’ 15-point deduction.

Milan currently sit second in Serie A, three points clear of fifth-placed Atalanta.

If neither Tottenham or Milan meet Roma’s demands, Zaniolo may wind up staying. With less than a week to go in the winter window, the time for decisive action in the market is fast approaching.

READ MORE: Tottenham to hold fresh talks with perfect signing ‘today’ as Fabrizio Romano hints at risky bid