Tottenham Hotspur remain focused on landing Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero this summer, but should they fail, they are keen to land three cheaper defenders in his place.
Spurs, who have already signed Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on loan, remain in talks over 23-year-old Romero but have failed with their opening bid for the Argentine.
The English side tabled an offer of €40m (£34.1m) plus €10m (£8.5m), but Atalanta knocked them back and warned Spurs that they will only sell Romero for €55m (£47m), and all that money needs to be paid up front.
There is only £5m or so between the two clubs’ valuations of Romero, but it’s that requirement to pay up front that will concern Spurs, who are understood to be hesitant to pay that kind of money at this point. According to Fabrizio Romano, they are already finalising a Plan B.
Should they miss out on Romero, Spurs plan to use all the money they have offered Atalanta to sign three different defenders. Bologna’s Takehiro Tomiyasu, who had looked set to join the club before the Romero offer, is on the shortlist.
Alongside Tomiyasu, Spurs would also look to sign Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic for around €15m (£13m), before launching a €25m (£21m) bid for Chelsea‘s Kurt Zouma.
Spurs may need all those new faces this summer. They are preparing to lose Toby Alderweireld in a £13m move to Al-Duhail, and Davinson Sanchez could also be offloaded if the right offer arrives.
That would leave Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga as the two natural centre-backs in the squad, with Eric Dier also capable of playing in that role.
In the short term, Spurs will focus on trying to sign Romero, who was named Serie A’s best young defender last season, but it will all come down to whether they agree to shell out so much money in one go.
It’s not exactly Spurs’ preferred way of doing business, particularly in a post-COVID world, but they may be forced to change that soon.