By Noel Whelan

4th Dec, 2021 | 2:30pm

Tottenham tipped to sign star defender as Romero now out 'for a long time' - pundit

Noel Whelan has tipped Tottenham to sign an A-list centre-back on loan in January to soften the blow of Cristian Romero’s long-term injury.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Spurs “can’t afford” to put “square pegs in round holes” with the 23-year-old out of action.

Speaking to Sky Sports (1 December), Antonio Conte confirmed Romero will be missing until January or February with a “very serious” hamstring injury.

Tottenham started with a back three of Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, and Ben Davies as they defeated Brentford 2-0 at home on Thursday (2 December).

Argentina international Romero has made 13 appearances for the north London side this season.

When asked if the defender’s injury could force Spurs into the market in January, Whelan told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge: “I think it has to.

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“You can’t afford to be putting square pegs in round holes for much longer when you are pushing for European football.

“It works for a certain amount of time but there comes a time where you need a natural and proven centre-half.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be looking for a loan. It would give them that strength in depth if Romero is out for that length of time.

“Otherwise, he could suffer setbacks and it could be the end of February before he comes back. That’s not too long before the end of the season.

“Conte and his team will want to give Tottenham every chance of breaking into that top four.”

Romero joined Tottenham on an initial loan from Atalanta in August.

Spurs have an option to buy the defender for a reported £42.5million.

In other news, Tottenham are “expected” to sign off on eight transfers by 1 January.