Tottenham might have to look for alternatives for Cristian Romero. Here are three options for Spurs to target in place of the Argentine centre-back.
The last couple of years have been quite tumultuous for Tottenham Hotspur. After the highs of reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 2019, the north Londoners have struggled to replicate their success under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino.
The Argentine himself was shown the boot months after losing the Champions League final to Liverpool, with his replacement Jose Mourinho barely making any progress in his stead. The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager did not even complete a full season as the Spurs boss, although he did guide them to the Carabao Cup final.
The latest appointment in the Tottenham managerial hot-seat is Nuno Espirito Santo, shortly after the arrival of Fabio Paratici as the new Managing Director of Football, and it looks like things are finally starting to take shape at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Lilywhites have already made two signings in quick succession in the form of Pierluigi Gollini and Bryan Gil. And the next objective appears to be reinforcing the defensive unit, especially after the departure of the dependable Toby Alderweireld. To that end, Cristian Romero is being hotly pursued by Tottenham.
However, his €55 million valuation could be problematic, while it has been speculated that Barcelona are in the running to sign the 23-year-old as well. As a result, it is imperative that Spurs keep their options open instead of pursuing just one target without a fallback plan in place, in the scenario that he joins Barcelona instead.
As per the reliable Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham do seem to be doing just that, with several options on their table. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle discusses three potential alternatives for the north London giants to weigh up a move for if they are unable to land Romero.
First up, is a player who has been heavily linked with Tottenham for quite some time now. In fact, there have also been suggestions that the Premier League heavyweights are closing in on securing his services in a low-money deal. We are, of course, talking about the versatile Takehiro Tomiyasu.
As per Romano, the Japanese international will only cost a third of what Romero is valued at, with Bologna demanding €18 million in exchange for his services. At a time when finances have been stricken in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, making cost-effective signings is key.
To that end, Tomiyasu is an option worth considering for Tottenham, with the 22-year-old’s versatility being an added positive for the Lilywhites. It is this versatility that would also ideally make him the perfect fit on the right side of a back-three if Nuno Espirito Santo replicates the system he had in place at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
At 22, though, he is still very much in the early stages of his career. So while he can be moulded into the kind of defender Nuno would want, he might not be the kind of defender who can come in and hit the ground running. Otherwise, Tomiyasu is surely a viable target, although Atalanta are eyeing him as a potential replacement for Romero.
Another young defender on our list. However, Milenkovic appears to be an option that Tottenham are considering as well. And like Tomiyasu, the Serbian centre-back will be an economical purchase if Spurs do make their move for him.
Another trait that puts Milenkovic in a similar category as Tomiyasu is his versatility. Indeed, the 23-year-old is equally adept at playing as a right-back as he does as a central defender. So, if Nuno opts for a back four, Milenkovic could be utilised in one of two slots on the right half, while in a back-three, he will be an ideal fit on the right side of the three-man unit.
Priced at just €15 million, signing Milenkovic will not burn a hole in Tottenham’s budget, all while possibly adding a solution for two different positions. However, like Tomiyasu, Milenkovic will need to be given enough time to find his feet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Nevertheless, Milenkovic is the kind of defender who will be consistent more often than not, which immediately makes him an upgrade over players like Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez, who have often flattered to deceive in recent times at Tottenham.
Lastly, we present a defender who is at his peak, is a proven leader and is already well-versed with the systems at play under Nuno Espirito Santo. We are, of course, talking about Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Conor Coady, who was one of the go-to men for the Tottenham boss at the Molineux.
Coady has unsurprisingly been linked with Tottenham already, and he is surely a viable target for Spurs as well. At 28, the English international is at the peak of his powers and is unlikely to take too long in settling down at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, seeing as he is already richly experienced in the Premier League.
In addition, Coady is a proven leader who can bring a group together, making him is just the kind of player Tottenham need in their defensive unit following the departure of Toby Alderweireld. Coady is also privy to playing in a three-man central defensive setup and could guide youngsters like Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga superbly.
While a price tag has not been mentioned in the reports linking him with the north Londoners, he is unlikely to cost nearly as much as Romero. Therefore, Coady could be just the kind of short-term solution Tottenham need to ensure a smooth transition under Nuno.