Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly eyeing a January swoop for Lazio full-back Manuel Lazzari, who was recommended by new manager Antonio Conte.
According to AS, Tottenham Hotspur are allegedly exploring January moves for a whole host of Serie A players on new boss Antonio Conte’s shortlist.
It hasn’t been 48 hours since Antonio Conte was appointed as the Tottenham manager, and potential transfer rumours have already started doing the rounds. The former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss is keen to raid Serie A for players and has handed Spurs’ sporting director Fabio Paratici a shortlist of January transfer targets to start the rebuild in north London.
An immediate change in the style of play is imminent at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. The Italian coach is known for deploying an attack-minded 3-4-3 system, which will be significantly more attractive than Nuno Espirito Santo’s more pragmatic setup. Hence, the 52-year-old would require the players to fit into his system and philosophy.
Many names have been bandied around, from Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic to Inter’s Stefan de Vrij. Spurs are also understood to be closing in on a pre-contract agreement for AC Milan’s Frank Kessie ahead of a Bosman move next summer. There is also a surprise inclusion of Lazio full-back Manuel Lazzari on Antonio Conte’s wishlist among these high-profile players.
Lazzari began his footballing career in the lower echelons of Italian football with Delta and Giacomense academies. He then joined SPAL and established himself as a key component of the Emilia-Romagna side’s success in achieving double promotion to Serie A. He enjoyed an impactful breakout campaign, assisting nine times from 33 games in the 2018-19 season.
Lazio quickly snapped up the exciting prospect in a deal worth around €10 million; the 27-year-old quickly settled into Simone Inzaghi’s attack-minded 3-4-3/3-5-1-1 system and became a regular at Stadio Olimpico in the following seasons. However, he has struggled to establish himself this season in new boss Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 system and was heavily linked with a reunion with Inzaghi at Inter Milan during the summer, but a move never materialized.
The two-time capped Italian international has only made four starts and five substitute appearances in Serie A so far this season, scoring one goal in the process. Lazzari has worked hard to adapt to Sarri’s system and has made significant progress, but it is evident that his attributes will truly shine operating as a wing-back rather than a traditional full-back role.
Conte has a history of getting the most out of wing-backs, most notably Achraf Hakimi, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. Lazzari could well follow in the footsteps of Hakimi, who excelled at Inter under Conte. Furthermore, Emerson Royal has struggled to find his feet since arriving at Tottenham in the summer. Lazzari would not only compete with the Brazilian but could prove to be a more reliable option.
Lazzari is contracted with Lazio until June 2024 and the Biancocelesti would be keen to demand a decent transfer fee for their asset. What remains to be seen is whether Tottenham step up their initial interest with a formal approach come this January or move for better alternatives.