Even before José Mourinho took over from Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, the London club were interested in AS Roma’s Nicolò Zaniolo, and why wouldn’t they?
After all, the Italian is one of the best up and coming playmakers of his generation, having already fully broken through at the Serie A side and become one of their key players in the process.
That, of course, makes him very valuable to them and their preference would be to keep him around for as long as possible.
It’s easier said than done, however, especially when the player isn’t entirely happy at the club following a falling out with his manager, Paulo Fonseca.
The Portuguese heavily criticised him in public after the 2-1 win over Verona, and things have deteriorated since.
La Repubblica explain Zaniolo ‘hasn’t spoken to anyone for days’ at the club, and Fonseca is now ‘basically an enemy’.
The 21-year-old’s agent will now meet with those in charge at the club to get a ‘rundown’ of what his going on, but the newspaper hint that any reconciliation is an ‘uphill’ struggle.
This means the player’s happiness and therefore future remains a central problem that will need to be addressed somehow this summer.
That’s when La Repubblica explain ‘Mourinho wants him at Tottenham’, letting us know the Portuguese is clearly a big fan of what Zaniolo has to offer and seemingly sees him as an ideal hub of creation for his Spurs squad going forward.
However, he faces competition from Italy since both Inter and Juventus are staunch admirers of the 21-year-old, even if their chance of signing him remain slim due to the hefty price tag slapped on his back: €70-80m.
La Repubblica finish off their article by saying AS Roma are ‘convinced no one has the cash to buy’ Zaniolo, relaxed at the idea of being able to hold onto his services for a while longer.
Whether the player will be happy doing so, on the other hand, remains to be seen, but it’s fair to say that at €70-80m, even Tottenham would struggle to get something put together regardless of Daniel Levy’s abilities when it comes to stretching a budget.