Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Talks underway as Tottenham chief Paratici makes crafty opening bid to sign Italy star Conte loves

Nicolo Zaniolo of Italy during the European Qualifier Group J match between Italy and Greece at at Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Tottenham have reportedly submitted an opening bid to bring a long-term Antonio Conte target to the club this month with talks ongoing with his representatives at securing the deal.

The north London club are going through a bit of a mini-crisis at present with all sorts of questions being asked of the club. While sat fifth in the Premier League and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, all does not seem well behind the scenes.

Their supporters’ trust has recently written to chairman Daniel Levy to express concern at the direction the club is heading in. And with Conte’s contract at the club due to expire this summer, reports suggest the Spurs supremo is considering four potential successors.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Harry Kane’s contract also now has 18 months left to run. And unless an agreement over an extension is soon finalised, the club faces a serious risk of losing their talismanic striker this summer. To that end, our transfer insider Graeme Bailey has run the rule over the factors that could drive him to Manchester United.

All hope, however, is not lost. Spurs can yet recover their form over the second half of the season. And Conte will also point to the bounce-effect the club enjoyed from last January’s transfer window. One year ago, the captures of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur reinvigorated Tottenham and ensured they finished the season in the top four, ahead of Arsenal.

Now Conte reportedly wants a couple of signings this month to have a similar affect.

His major target is a new right-back with talks over a deal for Pedro Porro ongoing. However, as reports revealed on Wednesday, that deal may be slipping out of Spurs’ grasp.

Tottenham launch opening offer for Nicolo Zaniolo

That said, Spurs’ transfer guru, Fabio Paratici is making progress on another deal.

And according to Italian reporter Gianluca Di Marzio, the subject of their interest is Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo. The Italy international, 23, is no stranger to links with Spurs. Indeed, he’s been mentioned as a target during the previous two windows.

But while Roma chose to hang on to him previously, Di Marzio now claims they are willing to cash in this month.

They are reportedly seeking a fee in the region of £35m – with Tottenham right at the front of the race. There is also reportedly interest from West Ham and Borussia Dortmund too.

However, Paratici has reportedly already made contact with Roma over a prospective deal. And his opening gambit is reportedly aimed at signing the attacking midfielder on an intial loan deal. That would be made permanent over the summer if the two clubs can settle on a price.

That story is also backed up by Sky Sports Italia, who claim talks between Paratici and Zaniolo’s representatives are progressing. They are seemingly intent on moving their client on this month. And reports claim they see the Premier League as an ideal next destination.

Conte a huge admirer of Italy star

Zaniolo, capped 11 times by Italy, has 24 goals in 128 appearances for the Giallorossi. Once described as an untouchable, Roma boss Jose Mourinho now looks ready to offload. To that end, the Roma boss needs to generate transfer funds for team strengthening – and Zaniolo now seems disposable.

Roma would, ideally, like to get some money for him now, so may well reject Paratici’s opening offer. However, the Spurs director is a dab hand at convincing Serie A clubs to accept such proposals. Indeed, this is illustrated in previous deals set up for Cristian Romero and Kulusevski.

Zaniolo is also a player who Conte loves with his versatility proving a big plus for Spurs. Capable of playing off either wing or as an attacking midfielder, his arrival would certainly offer Tottenham another option.

Tottenham could also free up space in their squad amid claims Lucas Moura is being offered to Everton.

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