Barcelona are ready to hijack Tottenham Hotspur's move for Atalanta defender Cristian Romero with a bid of their own, with the Premier League club dithering over the asking price.

The north London club have been in talks with Atalanta over a move for Romero but are yet to meet the Serie A club's €55 million (£46.8m) valuation of the player. Spurs are said to be £8 million short with their offer and have made no progress thus far.

According to Football Italia, Barcelona, who have been monitoring the situation closely, are now entering the race with a bid of their own. The Catalan club are looking for reinforcements this summer, and have now identified Romero as a potential target.

Atalanta will be more than happy to spark a bidding war for the centre-back, who starred for Argentina in their recent Copa America triumph. He also played a key role in helping the Serie A club qualify for the Champions League last season as they finished ahead of Juventus in third place in the league.

It is unclear if Barcelona will be able to match the Serie A outfit's valuation with the club in a precarious financial situation. The Catalan club are looking to offload a number of players to balance their books, which has seen them unable to re-sign Lionel Messi.

Atalanta signed Romero from Juventus on an initial loan deal last summer, but have taken up the option to make his deal permanent for just £14 million. They are now ready to sell him for a hefty profit to the highest bidder, with Tottenham currently leading the chase.

However, there is a belief that despite Romero having agreed personal terms with Spurs, an approach from Barcelona could sway him. Especially, since he will get to join his compatriot Lionel Messi in the Catalan capital, while also being able to play in the Champions League.

If Spurs miss out on Romero, it will be their second disappointment of the summer after seeing Premier League rivals Chelsea steal a march on their pursuit of Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde.

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman returns to the club he helped win the European Cup in 1992 Josep LAGO/AFP