After talks reportedly broke down with Barcelona, Roma youngster Arnaldo Sanabria might be on his way to Tottenham.
The 20-year-old striker spent the 2015/16 season on loan with La Liga outfit Sporting Gijón, scoring 11 goals in 29 appearances to help ensure the club’s survival in the league. The Paraguayan international was also part of the squad that lost to the United States in the final match of Group C in this summer’s Copa América Centenario.
Sanabria’s chances on Roma’s first team were few and far between prior to his move to Gijón. He earned just two substitute appearances in the 2014/15 season. His loan to Spain was thus his first opportunity for regular first team soccer.
He performed well enough there to earn some additional attention from football clubs around Europe, including Barcelona. Sanabria actually began his career with the La Liga champion’s La Masia youth academy, so it only seemed fitting that he would come full circle.
According to the Express, negotiations surrounding Sanabria’s return to Catalonia broke down, leaving the door open for Tottenham to make their own move.
It’s easy to see how Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s interest might be piqued by Sanabria. Here’s a young, promising player who already has a full season of experience in arguably the best league on the planet.
What’s more, Roma are thought to only be asking £11.5 million for Sanabria. In a market where Michy Batshuayi’s one full season of experience in France’s far-inferior Ligue 1 is worth more than twice that, it’s impossible to argue that this wouldn’t be a steal from Tottenham’s perspective.
Where would Sanabria fit in? The bench, at least for now. Tottenham are simply not looking for starters in the striker position. What they need — desperately — is something who could adequately understudy for Harry Kane, who will be taking the lion’s share of the starts provided he remains healthy.
Sanabria — or any other striker Tottenham bring in — can expect to get a handful of starts, mostly in less important Champions League or domestic cup matches. Given his youth and potentially high ceiling, it’s conceivable that Pochettino makes the adjustments to include him alongside Kane from time to time as well.
Ultimately this Sanabria link suffers from the same downsides as any other striker rumor at Tottenham. Whoever Pochettino convinces to come to north London will have to be content with the fact that they’ll start most matches on the bench. For some players — presumably the aforementioned Batshuayi — that might not be enough, and greener pastures might be pursued.
For truly ambitious players, players who recognize what they would from being under Pochettino’s tutelage and playing alongside the likes of Kane, Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris, a move to Tottenham should be a perfect fit. If the ascent of Eric Dier and Dele Alli — or even the re-emergence of Mousa Dembélé — have taught us anything, it’s that Tottenham are a club that rewards hard work and determination regardless if you’re young or old, a veteran or a rookie.