Arsenal and Tottenham to fight Roma for €20m 'new Messi'

Hellas Verona will take full ownership of Juan Iturbe this summer, but his true destination is yet to be confirmed.

The Argentine endured a turbulent spell at Porto after joining at the age of 18 to much fanfare, failing to live up to the hype and spending six months on loan with River Plate in early 2013.

As has happened countless times before, the ‘new Messi’ looked to be fizzling out before his career really got started, another casualty of unfathomable expectations. But, after a fine opening half to his spell at Hellas Verona this term, the now 20-year-old’s stock has soared once again and his services are widely coveted.

Iturbe was knowingly never going to return to the Estadio do Dragao despite being on loan with the Mastini, having already called time on his Portuguese adventure.

And on Tuesday Verona director general Giovanni Gardini confirmed his club would pick up the tab for the winger’s rights at the end of the campaign – a fixed fee agreed with Porto thought to be in the region of €15m.

Of course, the case doesn’t end there for the youngster, as it looks unlikely that he’ll ever grace the pitch at the Bentegodi clad in Gialloblu even after his purchase.

Suitors are circling now that the diminutive attacker’s ownership details have become clear – with Serie A giants AS Roma in pole position.

According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, the capital outfit have wasted no time in already shooting to the front of the queue – though the situation remains open.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton have reportedly all kept a keen eye on Iturbe per the Italian transfer guru and factor into the discussion but the Giallorossi are ahead of the Premier League competition.

Di Marzio has further maintained that Verona will require at least €20m to sell the Argentine on come summer – this figure potentially rising based on his performance down the stretch.

Whoever is willing to stump up the cash should get their man, as the newly-promoted club are almost beyond doubt acquiring Iturbe’s title with the purpose of turning a profit.

Verona allowed academy crown jewel Jorginho to leave in January for Napoli and his fellow South American-born should be the next out the door – though the drama of where he’ll land is yet to fully unfold.

image: © Damien Cansse

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