Antonio Conte remains fixated with Nicolo Zaniolo despite Tottenham seeing player-exhange proposal knocked back

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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte Credit: PA Images
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte Credit: PA Images

Antonio Conte remains determined to land Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo this summer despite seeing Tottenham knocked back in a player plus cash swap proposal.

Spurs’ interest in the Italy forward actually pre-dates Conte’s arrival at the club, with sporting director Fabio Paratici also a massive fan of the player’s talents.

But Conte himself wanted to bring Zaniolo to Inter Milan when he was in charge at the San Siro. And that admiration for the player has carried across to north London.

A report from Tutto Juve claims that Conte is ‘intent on convincing’ Tottenham’s hierarchy that signing Zaniolo would give the club another summer transfer coup.

Spurs have already signed Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Clement Lenglet and Djed Spence in the latest window. However, it appears they are not done quite yet.

Indeed, a report from Calciomercato on Thursday claims a proposal of £21million plus Joe Rodon in exchange for Zaniolo has already been knocked back.

Juventus are also known to be looking to strike a deal although their interest has gone quiet of late.

Zaniolo future still up in the air

Calcio adds that Zaniolo’s future is ‘far from defined’, even though Roma are keen to keep him.

An overall price tag in the region of £50m is unlikely to put Tottenham off. However, they will likely need to offload some unwanted players first.

Spurs have though been buoyed by the fact that Roma have added Paulo Dybala to their squad.

The free-transfer signing means Jose Mourinho’s men already have a replacement in place if Zaniolo does move on.

One telling factor could be whether the forward lines up in a pre-season friendly against Tottenham on July 30.

The I-Tech Cup game, which will take place in Israel, will pit Mourinho against his old employers. And one thing is for sure, the Portuguese coach will not want to be doing his old club any favours.

One final suggestion claims that a loan with an obligation to buy could also be on the cards.

However, that scenario appears completely unlikely, given how Mourinho would want to reinvest any transfer fee on new additions to his squad.

Five into three does not go

As much as Conte appears to love Zaniolo, it’s getting increasingly tougher to see where the Italian would fit in at Spurs.

Richarlison has been brought in to be back-up to Harry Kane or feature on the right-wing. But Dejan Kulusevski excelled in that psoition last season, which creates an immediate headache.

Son Heung-min, along with Kane, is undroppable – so what does that mean for Zaniolo?

If he does sign, Tottenham would have five top attackers with only three positions available. And that is without mentioning Lucas Moura, who could end up as a wing-back this season.

Strength in depth is key when there are so many competitions to play for. However, spending almost £100m on two forwards in Richarlison and Zaniolo when they could just be sat on the bench appears a bit reckless, even by Daniel Levy’s standards.

READ MORE: Key factor named which could see Leicester star push through Tottenham move

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