By George Overhill

19th Jan, 2023 | 2:40pm

Leeds United battle Tottenham and Leicester for Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo

Tottenham are the preferred destination for Leeds United target Nicolo Zaniolo after turning their attentions from Leandro Trossard, 90min reports.

Spurs are after the Roma man after North London rivals Arsenal moved in front of them for Brighton’s exit-bound Belgian international, following their own pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk being hijacked by Chelsea [Guardian, 19 January].

Zaniolo, who appears to be headed for the exit in Rome with 18-months left on his current contract, has been attracting attention from Leeds among others but they all may now struggle to overcome Tottenham.

The Whites have already expressed as such alongside Leicester and West Ham, while Borussia Dortmund are also aware of the situation, but Tottenham are reportedly “very much seen as Zaniolo’s preferred option”.

The 23-year-old has gone through a significant price reduction in a short space of time, with Jose Mourinho’s side valuing him at €50million [£42.8million] in the summer, but according to 90min would now be willing to accept a loan-to-buy deal worth €30million [£26.3million] this month.

Long shot

Zaniolo seems to be on the move with contract talks in the Italian capital stalled and the player apparently booed by his own fans, but if Spurs are seriously in the running now after missing out on Trossard that could be the end of the Leeds United pursuit.

The London side were after him in the summer and Jesse Marsch’s side know more than enough about players who have their heart set on moving somewhere else from recent months.

The Italy international would be a significant addition to the squad, and were it a loan move with an option attached it could be financially viable, but he plays in an area that looks pretty well stocked.

With the club-record deal to sign Georginio Rutter completed there doesn’t look to be a great deal of space for second strikers, especially considering Joe Gelhardt is going to have to leave on loan to get game time.

And the group that support the forward is arguably the strongest in the squad, not least now that Willy Gnonto has made a big step up and looks a star in the making.

Barring a change of heart from either Spurs or Zaniolo this one looks to be out of reach, but in the circumstances that doesn’t look to be a major blow at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, Gary Neville has talked up another significant departure to Manchester City after Kalvin Phillips in the summer.