Cristian Romero won the Copa America with Argentina this summer
Tottenham are stepping up their attempts to land Atalanta centre-back Cristian Romero after securing the signing of winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla, with Erik Lamela moving to the Spanish club as part of the deal.
Romero, 23, is Spurs’ primary target to strengthen the heart of Nuno Espirito Santo’s defence for the start of the season in three weeks. They are negotiating a deal with his Italian club, who have loaned him from Juventus with an obligation to buy at the end of the campaign.
A deal for the Argentina international is expected to break the £40 million barrier should talks progress over the coming days. Spurs sporting director Fabio Paratici knows the player from his time at Juve and believes he would suit the Premier League.
Spurs have also signed Romero’s team-mate Pierluigi Gollini as a back-up goalkeeper to Joe Hart on a season-long loan, and have tied Son Heung-min to a new long-term deal until 2025.
Gil, 20, has agreed a contract until 2026 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. He will link up with his new team-mates after the Olympics in Tokyo, where he is representing Spain.
The move brings an end to Lamela’s eight-year stint at Spurs. The 29-year-old Argentinian joined from Roma in August 2013 and made 257 appearances in all competitions. Spurs said on their website: "A club man through and through, we wish Erik all the best for the future."
Analysis: Why are Tottenham interested in Cristiano Romero?
Romero has been an outstanding performer in the past three years after starting in Serie A with Genoa and getting loaned back there for a second season after Juventus bought him, which was a deal on Paratici’s watch.
He played in the Champions League last season while on loan at Atalanta, who he helped finish third in the table as a regular in Gian Piero Gasperini’s team.
Spurs are looking to reshape their backline under Nuno, after last season when they relied on Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Davison Sanchez as centre-backs. The Romero deal has a long way to go between clubs but he would be a dominant centre-back for Spurs should he arrive in the Premier League.
They are still negotiating a deal for Bologna’s Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is currently at the Olympics with Japan. Tomiyasu can play centre-back and right-back and personal terms will not be an issue should the clubs agree to a fee.
Was Son’s future in doubt?
Son’s contract had two years to run but negotiations had progressed during the back end of last season and had been agreed in principle ready for a summer announcement.
His fresh terms keeps him committed to the club for the next three years and is expected to land him at least £10million per year before bonuses for his appearances and performances.