Tottenham finally appear to be closing in on their first signing of the January window, but it’s not in a position that is a growing cause of alarm for Antonio Conte.
Spurs’ hopes of finishing in the top four appear to be slipping away after a run of just two wins in their last seven league outings. That leaves them six points behind fourth-placed Manchester United – although they can close that gap against Fulham on Monday evening.
Incomings and outgoings have been virtually non-existent at Tottenham this month. And that is a big surprise, given the number of players Conte needs to improve his side, not to mention the first-teamers he hardly ever uses.
The Italian is known to want another centre-back, a right wing-back and a creative midfielder.
While there has been no progress on defensive upgrades, Sporting wing-back Pedro Porro continues to be linked with Spurs. But that’s only if they can agree to pay his £40million release clause, although Manchester City may have something to say about that.
There is also no progress on the addition of a No.10, although Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo can play there. And the Italy international is believed to be edging closer to joining Tottenham.
A report from 90min claims that the two clubs have come to an agreement over a transfer fee. However, the move is expected to be initially on loan.
The report adds that the remaining hurdle to overcome is the ‘structure of the deal’, with both clubs still in discussions over the terms of the obligation to buy.
Currently, Spurs plan to take Zaniolo on loan, with the option to buy if they reach finish in the Champions League spots.
However, Roma want the transfer to be mandatory regardless of where Tottenham end up in the table.
But despite these issues, it appears that the chances of the deal happening are very high.
Roma star a long-term Conte target
Zaniolo was convinced to remain in Rome last summer, when Conte first showed an interest in the player.
However, he has since fallen down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho. To that end, it’s expected that he will be allowed to move on this month.
The addition of Zaniolo would certainly give Tottenham more a creative edge to their attack. However, it’s hard to work out how he fits into Conte’s 3-4-3 stystem, which has no room for a playmaker.
Early on in his career, Zaniolo was described as a ‘frightening’ talent and the future of Italian football.
However, he has lost his way this season and it appears that a move will be best for the player and Roma.
The major issue for Spurs though is that Zaniolo is not really a player Conte needs, with a new centre-back and wing-back much more of a priority.
Porro can certainly be the answer for the latter, but Conte continues to be rebuffed in his chase for central defenders Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni and Josko Gvardiol – to name but a few.
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