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Bastoni, Torres, Lenglet, Botman — Tottenham lining up multiple central defender options

The Italian transfer rumor is grinding tonight.

Spain v Portugal -UEFA Nations league Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The rumors have been a little on the quiet side for a week or so now, and there’s a reason for that — most of the world’s top players are away with their national teams for Nations League, or World Cup qualifiers, or friendlies. But this week players will start to return to their clubs and already the rumors are starting to hot up again. As expected, Tottenham Hotspur are right in the thick of it.

Thanks to Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici, the once derided Italian footballing media ecosystem is now taking on a new level of importance, especially since one of Spurs’ top targets is Italian and Inter Milan central defender Alessandro Bastoni. (However, do continue to be skeptical of anything coming out of Italy that isn’t via Gianluca DiMarzio.) We know the drill by now as these rumors have been rumbling along for some time: Bastoni loves Inter and doesn’t want to leave but might do so anyway because Inter is skint and could shove him out the door to Spurs should they put in a big enough bid.

That hasn’t changed. In fact, Fabrizio Romano has new quotes from Bastoni himself that essentially just kick the can down the road.

This sounds bad, but it’s all sound and fury, signifying nothing. If you’re a professional footballer strongly linked with a big-money deal away from your club, this is exactly the kind of statement you’d make before there’s any actual news about your transfer. “I’m an Inter Milan player.” Yes, buddy, you are. For now.

But there are some reports tonight out of Italy that could affect the calculus of everything. The first is courtesy of Alfredo Pedulla, who is claiming Torino defender Gleison Bremer has decided he wants to go to Inter, and that the two clubs are inching closer to a deal.

That’s significant, because Bremer is going to cost a fair amount of money, and it’s not unreasonable to suspect that if true, it’s a sign that Inter are possibly pre-spending the money from a future Bastoni sale to Tottenham.

However, there’s also a new wrinkle: Sky Italia (via Get Italian Football News) is also reporting that Spurs are now lining up a deal with Villarreal for Pau Torres, one that could include midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

Bastoni may be the new hotness right now, but Spurs badly wanted Torres last summer and didn’t get him and he’s also a very, very good defender. This doesn’t mean that Spurs are abandoning their pursuit of Bastoni, but it does very likely mean that Paratici is lining up multiple targets (as he likes to do) in the event that a deal for Bastoni falls through. There have been similar links recently with Barcelona’s Belgian defender Clement Lenglet, as well as Lille’s Sven Botman.

What does this mean? Friends, I have no idea. I think Spurs probably want Bastoni if there’s any chance they can get him, and he’d be a slam dunk signing at whatever the cost. But having multiple options is a good thing. If Spurs somehow end up with Pau Torres for a good price (with Gio going the other way), well I could certainly live with that eventuality. Or there might be something else that comes out of nowhere.

Regardless, that LCB position is one of extreme importance to Conte, Paratici, and Spurs. Conte will want that person signed, sealed and delivered by the start of preseason, so I doubt we’ll have to wait that much longer. Buckle up.