Atalanta ‘have change of heart on Cristian Romero’ as Barcelona and Tottenham in race

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Atalanta have decided to drive up Cristian Romero’s price tag after Barcelona entered the race for the Argentine centre-back. The Serie A club are willing to let their defensive rock depart this summer despite only just triggering their option to buy the 23-year-old from Juventus.

Tottenham have been linked with a whole host of central defenders in recent weeks.

Yet since Fabio Paratici has seized initiative and taken control of transfers, Tottenham’s reported shortlist has been narrowed right down.

Interest in Joachim Andersen and Jannik Vestergaard cooled as Spurs pursued moves for Jules Kounde and Romero, who is now considered the club’s top defensive target.

Spurs have been locked in negotiations with Atalanta for over a week now and little progress has been made of late.

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Atalanta were initially asking for £45million but with Barcelona now knocking on the door, the Italians believe they can net more than that figure.

According to Tuttosport, Atalanta are now seeking between £51m and £55m.

Spurs are unlikely to pay that and will instead continue to discuss a fee closer to £45m.

Barcelona do not have the finances to fund a deal but could instead offer a loan with the option or obligation to buy.

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Tottenham do not want to be priced out of a deal but won’t be drawn into games by Atalanta.

Paratici already has a plan B in mind if there is no breakthrough in negotiations for Romero.

It involves signing three separate defenders in the form of Takehiro Tomiyasi, Nikola Milenkovic and Kurt Zouma.

The Frenchman has been discussed as part of a potential swap between Chelsea and Sevilla for Jules Kounde though.

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Nonetheless, Romero is set to push for his move to Spurs and has already agreed personal terms.

Spurs are willing to offer him a five-year contract too meaning all that is left to resolve is the fee with Atalanta.

Barcelona would like to add another centre-back to their squad but they need to sell more players before they can spend and even register some of their new signings.

Lionel Messi is still yet to sign his new contract due to the financial struggles in Catalonia…

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