With the signing of Ivan Perisic in the bag and another one (Fraser Forster) just waiting for final confirmation from the club, most Tottenham eyes have been turning to Perisic’s former Inter teammate Alessandro Bastoni as Spurs’ next and most high profile transfer target. The 23 year old left sided central defender is reportedly Antonio Conte’s primary target for that position; Conte worked with Bastoni when he was at Inter and is pushing hard for Spurs to find a way to bring him to North London.
However, according to multiple sources in the Italian media and elsewhere, there’s a problem: Bastoni isn’t sure he wants to go. Here’s an example of the narrative.
Inter, il pressing di Conte non ha fatto effetto: Bastoni vuole restare in nerazzurro https://t.co/ZOR1ZUV5kp— TUTTOmercatoWEB (@TuttoMercatoWeb) June 2, 2022
The tweet, translated from Italian: Inter, Conte’s pressing had no effect: Bastoni wants to stay with the Nerazzurri
Sounds bad, right? It might not be so bad. But first, some context — Bastoni is a life-long Inter fan, who grew up wanting to play for the Nerazzurri. In that sense, he’s already living the dream, playing in his home country, and sure, who wouldn’t be reluctant to leave your childhood club to join your former coach in England? Makes total sense. This is also exactly the kind of story you’d expect to see in the Italian media about an excellent young Italian player in the month before the transfer window opens.
However, and this is important, just because he’s reluctant to make a move doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not going to end up being a Tottenham player. Inter Milan need money and are themselves linked with a move for Gleison Bremer. They’re going to be raising that money through player sales, either via selling Bastoni to Tottenham, or Lautaro Martinez to Chelsea in exchange for loaning Romelu Lukaku back to Inter (we can talk about that later). So, it would not be at all surprising, if Tottenham offer a sufficiently large transfer fee to Inter, that Inter would then give Bastoni a healthy shove out the door, as money is fungible and can be exchanged for goods, services, or in this case, the contract of an excellent young Italian central defender. In that scenario, you can imagine a situation where Bastoni would tearfully say that he’s accepted a move to Spurs because he loves Inter and wants what’s best for the club.
So we shouldn’t get our undies in a bunch over these reports quite yet. Naturally we want our new players to be enthusiastic about leaving their clubs to play for Tottenham Hotspur, but we shouldn’t mistake “enthusiastic” for “willing.” Alessandro Bastoni may not be thrilled about the idea of leaving his favorite club for England’s Green and Pleasant Land, but it’s not at all clear yet that he’s not willing to do so.