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‘We’d be happy if we could sign him tomorrow’ - Roma director confirms Alderweireld interest

11:51 PM SGT 15/7/19
Toby Alderweireld Tottenham 2018-19
The experienced defender has been heavily linked with a move to the Italian side in recent weeks and could depart Spurs for a relatively nominal fee

Roma director Gianluca Petrachi has confirmed the club are interested in signing Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, but has insisted they are not using Franco Baldini as an intermediate to negotiate on their behalf.

It was reported last week that Baldini, who previously worked as a director of football for Roma and operated as technical director for Spurs between 2013-2015, was in London negotiating a deal which could see Alderweireld move to the Italian club.

The Belgian centre-back has long been linked with a move away from the London outfit and he even missed long spells of 2017-18 campaign with rumours he was on his way out of the club.

However, that did not transpire and Alderweireld went on to play a pivotal role in Tottenham’s run to the Champions League final last season, featuring in all but one of their European games.

It has since been reported that the 30-year-old has a relatively low release clause of just £25 million ($32m), which Roma could meet in the coming days.

When asked about Baldini’s recent trip to London and Alderweireld’s purported buy-out clause, Petrachi said: “Baldini can be a resource for us.

“I realise there is a release clause for Alderweireld, but Baldini has a strong rapport with Spurs directors, he worked there for many years and can support Roma in signing Alderweireld.

“If you want to say that Baldini negotiates on our behalf, then that is incorrect. I want it to be clear that he is of support to Roma and in the specific case of Alderweireld is an idea to help us save a bit of money. We’d be happy if we could sign him tomorrow without paying the release clause.

“I don’t like to talk about specific players, but obviously with Ivan Marcano and Kostas Manolas sold, we need two centre-backs and that is the priority. We are working on several fronts and have clear ideas on what we intend to do.”

The Roma director was also asked about the recent claims that Nicolo Zaniolo and Alessandro Florenzi are available for transfer, something he denied.

“It’s not right that every word we say gets built up into some giant story,” said Petrachi. “I understand your point of view, but I never put Zaniolo on the market.

“I can’t rule anything out either, because nobody thought Juventus would sell Zinedine Zidane and yet they did. What I can say is that today Zaniolo is not on the market. We evaluate everything, but must also be clear.”

“As for Florenzi, he is the captain of Roma and I never put him on the market. If offers arrive, they will be evaluated, but I never called anyone to say he was available.”