What to expect from Cristian Romero

It has taken a few years of steady decline, but Tottenham have finally accepted that they may have to pay up and fix their defense.

An addiction to Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen during what felt like 1000 years saw Spurs sadly unprepared as they both got older, and the play that Davinson Sanchez could take his place on the throne has certainly not paid off.

Thanks, @AlderweireldTob? pic.twitter.com/vM8EReCemm

– Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 27, 2021

Spurs have tried to ignore it, but after scraping a place in the Europa Conference League last season, the curtains have been opened and the baron’s desert that is Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is now in full view.

It’s impossible to ignore anymore, and to Spurs credit they are not. They have brought in Pierluigi Gollini as a potential future number one and they have since added one of La Liga’s most exciting youngsters, Bryan Gil, but their biggest splash may still come.

Club officials are chasing Atalanta center-back Cristian Romero, the 23-year-old Argentine who was just named Serie A’s best young defender before Matthijs de Ligt, Alessandro Bastoni and the other big names in the competition.

It’s a real statement of intent from Spurs, who have seen Romero quietly flourish into one of the game’s best defenders and are ready to take the Atalanta man’s unique skill over to London.

Romero is an unpleasant return to a bygone era and does everything you could wish for from your midfielder. He shouts at his defense mates to keep them organized, keeps a close eye on the ball and will pat someone if it means kicking the ball away from his goal. It’s just a shame he got rid of the black boots that only increased his entire aesthetic.

Where Romero really thrives are wiretaps. An absolute monster in the air, Romero has bulky intelligence when it comes to attacking the ball and can choose the perfect second to jump up and pick up the ball. He is physically blessed, but unlike so many other fat midfielders, he knows how to use it perfectly.

He finished in third place in wiretaps in Serie A last season and showed his time and willingness to wait for the right moment to come.

Romero in action against Juventus / Jonathan Moscrop / Getty Images

It’s a kind of calm that Spurs fans have not seen from their defenders for a while now. With Sanchez and Eric Dier often looking like they’ve never seen a football before, there’s a real need for someone with Romero’s mentality, which goes far beyond his years.

But what makes Romero so special is that he can translate his skill from defense to attack. He chooses the right moment to tackle, but with the ball at his feet, he remains calm in search of the perfect pass.

When Nuno Espirito Santo wants to create a fast, possession-heavy machine at Spurs, he needs someone who can pull the strings from the defense, and that’s exactly what Romero can be.


Simply the best defender from @SerieA 20/21! ? A first Atlantic stallion of the clock for the Cuti! ??

Simply the best 20/21 @SerieA_ES defender! ? A dreamy first #Atalanta season for Cristian #Romero! ????

? https://t.co/vfIGzDn1Cl pic.twitter.com/UiTSLIlnKq

– Atalanta BC (@Atalanta_BC) June 17, 2021

Apparently immune to pressure, Romero could not care less when opponents try to throw him out of his game. He simply knocks the ball to the side and continues to do what he does, otherwise he gets rid of the pass before something has the potential to go wrong.

You will also see Romero play on his ability to beat a man as well. He is never afraid to push forward in space and can start to look like a midfielder in an instant. It’s a risky style of play, but Romero’s simple cool demeanor makes you feel confident about what he’s doing.

Now a midfielder who can pass a ball is not so rare today, but Romero’s ability with the ball at his feet exceeds it. His passes are perfect and he regularly trusts his teammates in space with consistent balls.

Romero is equally composed in possession / Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

He does so much of everything and manages to do everything at such a high level. Italian football has calculated its talents, and the rest of Europe is slowly starting to catch on.

The Spurs know exactly how much impact Romero would have on their shaky defense, and it is now up to those in charge at the club to decide how much it is worth to them.

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