Sun. Sep 25th, 2022
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ntonio Conte has confirmed that Tottenham will buy loanee Cristian Romero outright at the end of the season and has described the Argentine as “perfect” for the Premier League.

Romero joined Spurs from Atalanta on an initial season-long loan deal but with an obligation to make the move permanent for £42.5million in the summer, when the 23-year-old is expected to sign a five-year deal.

The deal predates Conte, who effectively considers Romero as a permanent member of the squad and described his return to fitness at the weekend as like “a new signing”.

“He’s on loan but we have an obligation to buy. We bought him!” Conte said ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Southampton in the League.

“He is perfect for this league. But if you can play in this league you can play in all the leagues in the world. The problem is when you stay in another league, you have to ask if you can play in the Premier League. But when you play here, you can play in any league in the world.

“Because the intensity, the quality, the physicality that you have here is not present in other leagues. For sure Romero is able to play in this league. This league is a perfect suit for him.”

Romero returned from a three-month lay-off with a hamstring injury for Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Brighton and put in a commanding performance at the heart of Conte’s three-man defence.

Spurs’ back line suffered when Romero and Eric Dier were missing in January but Conte chose to see the positives in the former’s absence.

“It was a great opportunity to improve, to develop players that maybe if Romero was fit, couldn’t play or didn’t play – [Japhet] Tanganga, [Davinson] Sanchez and [Ben] Davies,” Conte said.

“In the difficulty of his injury we have found other players that can be good to give us good performance and defensively to be complete as a player but I’m happy about my defenders.”

Meanwhile, Conte believes Harry Kane is developing into a “complete player” and says the England captain is still improving as an out-and-out No9.

REUTERS

Conte has consistently said the only way for Spurs to close the gap to their Premier League rivals is to improve each and every one of his players, and Kane is no exception despite his extraordinary consistency over the past eight years.

“It is not easy to improve a player of this level but at the same time I think that Harry is improving a lot in his position,” Conte said.

“Because in this moment with us he is playing much more like No9.

“In the past I have seen him a lot, often go outside [the box]. He is very good outside because his also a No10 and he has this quality to pass the ball and to make an assist but at the same time to shoot and to score.

“But I think he has improved a lot in his position to be also a No9 – a strong No9 – and I think he is improving a lot in the duels with his opponent, to defend the ball and in my opinion he is becoming a complete player, 120 per cent.

“He is a player that in this moment he can play in every team of the world and to be the striker.”

Conte also revealed he had been told that Manchester United wanted to sign him during his playing career.

“I would have liked to play in the Premier League,” Conte said. “I tried to get this experience.

“I know that Alex Ferguson liked my football. I know that in the past it was a moment that maybe Manchester United wanted to bring me there.

“My agent told me this but I don’t know if this is a lie or the truth!”

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