Opinion: Four potential partners Spurs should sign for Cristian Romero

Cristian Romero
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Coming into this transfer window, all Spurs supporters knew the club needed to make changes to the team’s defence. It was the glaring weakness in the Spurs team all throughout last season. 

Tottenham have now started this progress with the signing of Cristian Romero from Atalanta, with the Argentine joining the North London club this week.

However, the additions to Spurs’ backline cannot end there. Romero looks like a fantastic player, however, Spurs now should be looking to find a partner for him. 

Spurs could look to enter the transfer market to do this, or, in my opinion, could turn to one player already at the club to partner the Argentine.

Those options for me consist of:

Sven Botman, 21 years old, LOSC Lille

  • Botman was an integral part of Lille’s surprising Ligue 1 title win last season, making 37 starts in Ligue 1 in the 2020/21 season.
  • This may seem minor to some, however, the fact that Botman is left-footed is not insignificant as normally, having a left-footed left-sided centre back makes it a bit easier to play out from the back. 
  • According to SkySportsNews, offers of around €31 million could tempt Lille into selling the young centre-back. That sort of price shouldn’t be too prohibitive to Spurs, though there are likely to be less expensive options out there. 
  • In Ligue 1 last season, Botman completed 87% of his passes, won 68% of his aerial duels, won 67% of his ground duels, averaged 1.5 interceptions per game, and 3.2 clearances per game (SofaScore).
  • The only major red flag with Botman is that he has only had one season of real top-flight/top-level experience. Despite this, Spurs should take the “gamble” and go for him if you ask me. He’d be my top choice to partner Romero, and those two could form a top centre-back partnership for the foreseeable future and give Spurs real stability in the backline
  • The lack of overall experience in a Romero/Botman partnership would worry some, however, for me, Spurs had plenty of experience at centre-back last season, as oftentimes Dier and Alderwerield would be our pairing, two players with plenty of experience, and look how that worked out for us. 
  • Spurs should not sacrifice quality for someone who’s older and can be labelled as “experienced” and a “leader” just because of their age. 

Takehiro Tomiyasu, 22 years old, Bologna

  • Tomiyasu is one of the most interesting pieces of the Spurs transfer window/squad puzzle. His ability to play as a left and right-sided centre-back, and also at right-back gives Spurs options in terms of what they would want to do with them. For me, I’d prefer to use him as a left-sided CB, despite the fact he’s right-footed, he’s very comfortable playing on the left side and comfortable using his left foot too. I’d prefer to sign a more natural right back and use Tomiyasu at centre-back which I find to be his best position. 
  • Tomiyasu would complement Romero very nicely. The two players’ respective skillsets would make for a good, balanced pairing
  • Tomiyasu in Serie A last season made 31 starts, completed 82% of his passes, had 1.7 interceptions per game, 0 errors leading to shots, 0 errors leading to goals, and 0 penalties conceded. He won 58% of his aerial duels, not as good as Botman but not a terrible % by any means. This is all per Sofascore.
  • Tomiyasu, like Botman, isn’t the oldest/most experienced CB there is, but those who watch Serie A maintain that he is one of the more intelligent defenders in the league, and is mature beyond what his age would infer. 
  • In terms of agreeing a deal, it seems rather likely. Charlie Eccleshare of the Athletic reported before the Olympics that a deal for Tomiyasu was close to being done.

Pau Torres, 24 years old, Villareal 

  • Torres would be my personal preference amongst all the players on this list. However, he’d likely be difficult to obtain. He is under contract until 2024 with Villareal, and the player likely will take some convincing to come to Spurs as Villareal obtained Champions League football through their Europa League triumph last season. 
  • However, if he indicated that he’d be willing to join the club, Spurs should do everything they can to get the finances needed to complete this deal and partner him with Romero. 
  • Torres at 24 has more experience than the players listed above, and still is young enough to where he has plenty of room to improve and grow. 
  • Torres in La Liga last season made 33 starts, only conceded 1 penalty, completed 88% of his passes, won 62% of his aerial duels, and averaged 3.3 interceptions per game (Sofascore).
  • This deal would be easily the hardest to complete out of the ones on this list I am compiling, and would likely require Spurs making a decent amount off player sales to get it done. However, if it became possible this would be a fantastic signing and a great partner for Romero.

Aymeric Laporte, 27 years old, Manchester City 

  • Laporte would likely be coming to Spurs (along with some money) in a deal that sent Harry Kane to Manchester. I’d love to see us try and make him a part of a deal if Kane is going to depart this summer. If we’re being realistic I can’t see Manchester City sending to Spurs, a domestic rival without getting the player they crave so much as part of the deal.
  • Regardless of it involves Kane going the other way, Laporte would be a great addition. He’s got a mix of quality and experience that other players on this list don’t necessarily have.
  • He fell out of favour after the arrival of Ruben Dias last season and struggled with injuries in the 19/20 season, so a lack of consistent game time in the last two seasons could be a slight concern.
  • However, in 18/19, Laporte was fantastic. He was named to the PFA Team of the Season.
  • He was a massive part of Manchester City retaining their title that season, making 34 starts in the Premier League, completing 92% of his passes, averaging 1.1 interceptions per game, 1.2 tackles per game, 2.7 clearances per game, and only being dribbled past .3 times per game. He also had no errors leading to goals and didn’t concede any penalties (Sofascore).
  • This deal would be a tricky one. For one, as I mentioned above, it’d likely involve us losing Harry Kane, and also, according to reports, Laporte would prefer a move back to Spain if he is to leave Manchester City (Graeme Bailey).
  • However, if he is offered to Spurs as part of a Kane deal, the club should do what they can to try and convince the player to make the move. With the top Spanish clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona struggling financially, there could be a route there for Spurs to swoop in.

Joe Rodon, 23 years old, current Tottenham player

  • Having Rodon already at the club presents Tottenham with a dilemma. Do they prioritise signing a second CB to partner Romero, or do they use Rodon, who impressed at times last season and has played on the left side plenty of times at Swansea and Spurs, and also for Wales so they can put their funds towards players at other positions?
  • It’s a serious question to be asked, ideally, they’d be able to sign a second CB whilst also addressing other positions they want to make additions at, however, there may come a time where Spurs have to make that decision of one or the other.
  • Rodon in the Premier League only made 8 starts, however, he completed 88% of his passes, had 1.8 interceptions per game, 1.2 tackles per game, was only dribbled past on average 0.1 times per game, conceded no penalties, and averaged 2.9 clearances per game (Sofascore).
  • Rodon did impress in limited action last season, however, despite being the second-oldest player on the list, he has the least amount of top-flight experience, so that is a concern. On the flip side, those who have watched him and spoken to him say Joe is mature beyond his years and has great character. 
  • Fans will likely be frustrated if only one centre-back comes in, however, if it is so funds can be spent on more appealing players in other spots it would be easier to swallow. This is something Spurs should at least consider, however personally I’d prefer to sign one of the players named above instead. 

Personally, I believe Spurs need to find a centre-back who’s comfortable playing on the left (ideally left-footed as well), because I think Romero would be best on the right side. So, that rules out candidates like Milan Skriniar and Nikola Milenkovic, both of whom play on the right side and are also right-footed. 

Out of the options on this list, Laporte and Botman are my favourites but I think they would all be sound choices.

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