I think it's safe to say that most calcio fans seldom think about Tottenham Hotspur. That's no shot at the north London club, but apart from Gareth Bale's legendary performance against Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League, Serie A clubs and Spurs rarely share the same orbit. However, with Roma's recent appointment of former Spurs manager José Mourino to the manager's bench at the Stadio Olimpico and Spurs’ rumored pursuit of Antonio Conte to lead their latest project, the connections between Spurs and Serie A seem to be growing by the day.
While The Special One has yet to touchdown in Rome, that hasn't stopped the rumor rags from connecting a host of his former players to the Giallorossi. First, there was the absurd notion that Roma could somehow land the €100 million-rated Harry Kane to lead the line in the capital, then came some whispers of Delle Ali, Erika Lamela, and Steven Bergwijn, among others, but they all disappeared rather quickly.
Any time a manager changes jobs, the natural inclination is to link his former players with a move to his new club, but for a variety of reasons, the Spurs-to-Roma pipeline has remained closed. If you had to pick out a perfect striker to start Roma's Mourinho Makeover, it would be Kane, but even if we disregard the exorbitant transfer fee, the salary demands made this rumor dead on arrival. But that's just the state of European football at the moment—clubs outside England can seldom afford English salaries, so, as great as it would be, moves for Kane, Ali and even Lamela remain fantasies.
However, thanks to a lovely bit of Italian tax law—the so-called “Growth Decree”—Serie A clubs can coax top talent to the peninsula without requiring the player to take a salary haircut. The “Growth Decree” offers clubs significant tax/wage savings on players who have worked outside of Italy for at least two years. It’s the same loophole they exploited to lure Pedro from Chelsea and it may help them land Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris—if Il Messagero is correct.
According to the Italian paper, Mourinho is keen on reuniting with Lloris in Rome this season. Lloris, a 34-year-old French international, has been a rock for Spurs since joining from Lyon in the summer of 2012. However, with only one year remaining on his deal, Lloris’ future with Spurs is up in the air, leading many to question where he'll play his football this season and beyond.
For his part, Lloris is focused on France's bid to follow up their 2018 World Cup triumph with a Euro 2020 title and has thus far refused to speculate on his future. However, the 34-year-old keeper seemed to enjoy a good relationship with Mourinho, and by utilizing Italy's tax laws, Lloris’ €6 million salary becomes a bit more palatable for Roma.
Lloris wouldn't necessarily be a long-term solution for Roma, but he could steady the ship for three years or so, providing the Giallorossi time to develop a new keeper and/or truly evaluate whether or not Daniel Fuzato can be a full-time starter in Italy.
Of course, nothing is as cut and dry as transfer rumors would have you believe. After all, Roma still has Pau Lopez under contract through 2024 and Robin Olsen, who will soon return from a loan spell at Everton, is inked through 2023.
Hugo Lloris would be an upgrade over either of those keepers, and the tax laws make the transfer far easier than it would have otherwise been, but Tiago Pinto has more than a few knots to untie before we dream of Lloris in Roma colors.