Tottenham Hotspur have now turned their attention to a new central defensive target…

What’s the word?

According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, Spurs manager Antonio Conte is keen to sign AS Roma colossus Roger Ibanez this summer transfer window, though he is facing competition from Premier League rivals Newcastle United.

General manager Tiago Pinto does not view the 23-year-old centre-back as ‘non-transferrable’ but he could cost in the region of €30m (£26m).

It’s also thought that the Serie A outfit, led by former Lilywhites head coach Jose Mourinho, already has potential replacements in mind, with Feyenoord’s Marcos Senesi and Arthur Theate of Bologna mentioned as targets.

Would you want Ibanez at Spurs?

Yes please!

Yes please!

No thanks!

No thanks!

Bastoni alternative

Interest in another name should come as no surprise after the north Londoners were dealt a gutting blow in their pursuit of top target Alessandro Bastoni, who now appears to be staying at Conte’s former club Inter Milan.

“Bastoni is definitely staying at Inter,” his agent Tullio Tinti revealed earlier this week (via The Athletic). “He’s an Inter player. He’s happy to play for Inter.”

Whilst hope of signing him isn’t diminishing despite the news, especially given Inter’s financial status right now, it would make sense to plan elsewhere; and there won’t be a better candidate than Ibanez, who, on the face of it, looks like Bastoni 2.0.

The £42.5m-rated brute has been described as “a talent” by his former manager Paulo Fonseca, who also claimed: “It’s not easy to find fast, aggressive central defenders, but Roger has another side to his game. He has a lot of quality and courage on the ball.”

He has also described himself as being a bit of a speed demon and quite the complete centre-back. “I am quick and strong in the air too. I like to play the ball to feet. All these are words, of course, I want to show what I can do on the pitch,” once claimed Ibanez.

In terms of their respective output in the Italian top flight in 2021/22, both Bastoni and Ibanez were performing at a strikingly similar rate.

When it comes to tackling, the Inter star only managed 0.5 more successful tackles per 90, whilst the Roma man led the way for interceptions, averaging 2.96 per 90, compared to Bastoni’s 1.48.

Also via FBRef, the pair were close for blocks (Bastoni’s 1.56 vs Ibanez’s 1.25).

Meanwhile, in terms of their ball-playing ability, it’s a similar story with the pair ranking closely for progressive carries (4.20 vs 4.14) and passing accuracy (89% vs 87.4%).

This makes for interesting reading and only goes to show why the Brazilian would be a viable, if not the perfect alternative, to Bastoni.

Sporting director Fabio Paratici and Conte must now look to raid Ibanez from Roma.

AND in other news, “A London source..”: Italian journo drops Spurs transfer update, Conte will be buzzing

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