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Tottenham coach Antonio Conte sings praises of loan defender Cristian Romero

When Tottenham Hotspur completed the deal to bring in Cristian Romero from Atalanta, eyebrows were raised. The player had arrived at Spurs from Atalanta via Juventus. Having been on loan at the Bergamo club, Romero was signed permanently by Atalanta before being sold on – at great profit – to Spurs within the same transfer window. The defender, 23, arrived in England in the summer of 2021 on a loan deal with the obligation to sign for Spurs in a fee believed to be around €50m.

Despite playing only 14 games so far in his debut campaign in North London, coach Antonio Conte was keen to talk up a player whom he will know well from his time in Italy. Romero has impressed when fit, and has become a key component of a Spurs team that looks every bit ready to grow and improve under Conte in the weeks and months ahead.

Some fans, though, wondered if Spurs would try to find a way out of the deal given the immensity of the sum involved. However, Conte confirmed in a recent press conference that the club would indeed complete a deal for Romero.

What did Antonio Conte say about Cristian Romero?

The Italian spoke at length in his midweek pre-match press conference. He was asked about what will happen with Romero, and whether or not the deal came with an obligation. To put that in place, Conte admitted: “We have an obligation to buy … we bought him.”

The player was a key part of the Conte era so far, playing in the first game of the Italian’s tenure. Tearing his hamstring when away with Argentina, though, meant that Spurs have often had to make do without being able to call upon the centre-half.

Conte, though, believes that while things have been slow so far they can only improve in the future for a player he rates highly. When asked about his views on the player, Conte was effusive in his praise of the Copa America winner, saying: “Romero is perfect for the Premier League. He’s strong physically, he has the timing to anticipate and good personality to play with the ball. Despite being a young player, he has good experience, he’s strong. I like him. For sure, he has a lot of space for improvement.”

When asked on what it was like to have his player back, Conte inferred that he was “like a new signing” and was quick to talk the player up as a long-term solution. While some fans questioned the wisdom of agreeing a deal in the region of €50m for a player who Atalanta just bought for around €16m, it looks like Conte is keen to have the player stick around for the long-term.

For however long Conte sticks around – and with Daniel Levy and co. in charge we could never be certain of longevity – we should expect to see Romero as a key part of his defensive system.

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