New Tottenham signing Cristian Romero is a doubt for the start of the Premier League season as he recovers from a knee injury, football.london understands.
The 23-year-old put pen to paper for the club on Friday as Spurs‘ managing director of football Fabio Paratici finally got his man after the club managed to negotiate a deal with Atalanta for the centre-back.
Romero arrives at Tottenham initially on a season-long loan with an option to purchase him, after the Italian club made his own loan to them from Juventus permanent on Friday.
While it is being officially termed as an option rather than an obligation, all parties expect the permanent move to Spurs to go through in a £42.5m deal and a five-year contract following the year loan – to make it a total of six years – has already been agreed with the Argentine.
The complicated deal, which saw Atalanta sign Merih Demiral from Juventus on the same day in a similar loan-to-buy move, means both Atalanta and Tottenham can put off their main transfer payment until next year when their revenue streams have returned to normal.
Romero has been able to interact with his new Tottenham team-mates instantly as having had an all-in-one single dose vaccination jab in Italy he does not have to isolate following his arrival in the UK.
However, football.london understands that when the Argentine’s Tottenham debut for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team will happen is currently unclear as he recovers from a minor injury to his medial collateral ligament in his knee.
Romero is believed to have suffered the injury during the Copa America final against Brazil on July 11, which he played on with before leaving the pitch in the 79th minute.
Romero and his new Spurs team-mate Giovani Lo Celso won that final to lift the trophy for their country.
Now almost a month later, Tottenham’s newest centre-back is in the later stages of recovery following that twisted knee.
The club released a video of him on Saturday on the pitches at Hotspur Way doing outdoor work with a ball being thrown to him as he progresses towards his return.
Spurs will not want to rush him back and it remains to be seen exactly when Romero will make his debut in the number four shirt, with Tottenham’s opening Premier League game against Manchester City just a week away.
The Argentine had only returned to pre-season work with Atalanta following his Copa America exploits a week ago so would have been playing catch-up with his fitness even without the injury.
Paratici is looking to bolster his defence in the weeks ahead, with Spurs’ priority now to sign another centre-back and a right-back, before concentrating on players further up the pitch.
Tottenham take on Arsenal on Sunday afternoon in friendlies for both the men’s and women’s sides at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.