With speculation linking Serie A side Roma with an interest in key Tottenham Hotspur centre-half Toby Alderweireld, the recent pivot to the rumours was that we would be looking for a cash + swap deal for highly rated 20-year-old midfielder Nicolo Zaniola.
With talk of potential meetings between both clubs and some kind of deal being done in the £50million range, it was also heavily reported that Roma weren’t willing to meet Toby’s £25million release fee which will expire next week I believe.
Roma Director Gianluca Petrachi has now tried the old ‘put pressure on in the press’ routine and was quoted by Football-Italia recently as saying.
“I said the same to Baldini, who can be a resource for us. I realise there is a release clause for Alderweireld, but Baldini has a strong rapport with Spurs directors, he worked there for many years and can support Roma in signing Alderweireld. If you want to say that Baldini negotiates on our behalf, then that is incorrect. I want it to be clear that he is of support to Roma and in the specific case of Alderweireld is an idea to help us save a bit of money. We’d be happy if we could sign him tomorrow without paying the release clause.”
Given all the swap speculation at the weekend though, he categorically ruled that out, insisting that Zaniola was not available for transfer this summer and that despite the speculation, he most certainly hadn’t been placed on the transfer list.
“I told off Zaniolo, like a father would to a son, with all the affection in this world, to get his head back on his shoulders, but immediately people said that meant putting him on the market. I have to work to get the best out of Zaniolo and my job isn’t just buying and selling players, as I have direct contact with the squad. I see them every day and consider them to be teammates. It’s not right that every word we say gets built up into some giant story. I understand your point of view, but I never put Zaniolo on the market. I can’t rule anything out either, because nobody thought Juventus would sell Zinedine Zidane and yet they did. What I can say is that today Zaniolo is not on the market. We evaluate everything, but must also be clear.”
So that makes everything as clear as mud doesn’t it.