Spurs Opinion: Alderweireld- Zaniolo swap deal could be a smart piece of business for the Lilywhites
According to the Daily Star, Spurs are interested in signing burgeoning Italian talent Nico Zaniolo from AS Roma, with reports claiming that the Lilywhites are hoping to complete a part-exchange deal for the 20-year-old by sending centre-back Toby Alderweireld to the Italian capital.
The Serie A outfit has been credited with an interest in the Belgian veteran and the North London giants want to use their interest to bring in Zaniolo, a player who has been on their radar for quite some time.
As a matter of fact, Roma chief Franco Baldini has flown over to England to hold talks over a potential swap deal involving the two players in question. (h/t Daily Star)
The same report claims that Toby Alderweireld, who has only a year remaining on his contract at Spurs, is keen to move on in search of a new challenge and has given a potential move to Roma his nod of approval, although it remains to be seen whether the Serie A giants ultimately settle for a swap deal.
Zaniolo was pretty much an unknown entity in Europe prior to the start of the 2018-19 season but a successful breakthrough season at the Stadio Olimpico has put him right up there with the best emerging playmakers across the continent.
Roma’s 6th-place finish in the Serie A saw them miss out on a Champions League spot but the 20-year-old was one of the shining lights of the club’s otherwise disappointing campaign.
The Italian sensation earned rave reviews for his consistently impressive performances, not only in the Serie A but also in the UEFA Champions League. Zaniolo made a total of 36 appearances for Roma in all competitions this past season, scoring 6 goals and assisting a further 2 in the process.
The 20-year-old’s stellar run of form also earned him a couple of senior international caps for Italy, which is certainly a barometer of the kind of impact he made in his debut season in the Italian top flight.
Meanwhile, Spurs have already made the headlines this summer with the big-money signing of French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon, whilst Jack Clarke has also been brought in from Leeds United as a future prospect.
However, it is quite clear from these speculations that manager Mauricio Pochettino is open to making a few more additions before the transfer deadline in order to assemble a squad capable of challenging the likes of Man City and Liverpool for the Premier League title next term.
And Nicolo Zaniolo certainly has the quality to have the fans on the white half of North London drooling over a potential move.
To put things into perspective, the swap deal involving Zaniolo and Alderweireld makes perfect sense for Spurs, although Roma might be reluctant to lose one of their brightest academy talents.
Plus, the £36 million cash adjustment in favour of Roma looks quite decent, given that Alderweireld has a release clause of £25 million and Zaniolo would probably have commanded a fee in excess of £50 million.
Alderweireld has done a terrific job for the Lilywhites over the past few seasons in the Premier League but given that he is keen to try his luck elsewhere, the club shouldn’t be reluctant to move him on.
Spurs already have the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth as options at the heart of the defence, whilst Eric Dier and Ben Davies can also fill in if required.
On the contrary, bringing in a young attacking midfielder like Zaniolo certainly makes a lot of sense for Spurs, with Christian Eriksen currently in the last year of his contract.
The innate 20-year-old left-footed playmaker is not only capable of playing in a wide range of positions in the middle of the park but he has also shown incredible technical abilities that belie his tender years.
If the move does materialize and Eriksen departs the club, Zaniolo is likely to be slotted straight into the Dane’s playmaking role next season, owing to his ability to create space and unlock opposition’s defences with delicious through balls.
Moreover, the 20-year-old proved last season that he is more than capable of chipping in with crucial goals, thus making him an overly exciting prospect for Spurs.
Zaniolo is not really the finished article but working under the watchful eyes of Pochettino should work wonders for his development, considering that bringing in young talents and transforming them into world-beaters has pretty much been the Tottenham way of going about things in the transfer window.
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All in all, the 20-year-old looks destined to reach great heights in his career and Spurs could do themselves a world of good by using Alderweireld as a makeweight to wrap up a deal for the Italian prodigy.