Liverpool has reportedly joined the race with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to sign AS Roma and Italy attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old was linked to both United and Spurs last summer with United reported to be willing to offer £25 million for the player. That amount would never have been enough for the player though.
There are suggestions that Zaniolo is worth £71 million this summer, despite the valuation coming before the coronavirus pandemic which will have many financial implications for clubs around the world. Football Italia has reported that Roma seem to be in debt to the tune of £250,000, which seems such a small amount of money for a football club.
It would seem that Liverpool’s inclusion in the race to sign the Italian could be because his valuation will decrease, which could lead them to a bargain. However, with United and Spurs’ interest in the player, it could start a bidding war with the Merseyside club missing out on the rising Roma star who has attracted a lot of attention.
This season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Zaniolo made a total of 24 appearances for Roma, scoring six goals and two assists, playing 1,741 minutes of football. Predominantly, the 20-year-old is a right-winger, making 16 of is appearances, scoring all of his goals and assists there – he can also play on the left, through the middle of as a centre-forward.
Roma could face the possibility of missing out on UEFA Champions League football next season with them sitting in fifth place in the Serie A after 26 matches, meaning they may only appear in the UEFA Europa League, which would hit the clubs revenue stream even more. It is suggested that Roma would like to sign Chris Smalling from United.
This could give United a chance to get Zaniolo and have Smalling included in a possible deal to sign the 20-year-old, if he is in fact on their wish list at all this summer. Last summer, the Italian was linked with United but the reported fee involved was never something that would have seen the deal completed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking to return United’s fortunes in his spell as the manager, seemingly taking a similar approach as Sir Alex Ferguson did all those years ago. Youth is the key and despite looking at players within the clubs academy, looking to see what is out there is a good approach. Previously, United had their approach to transfer wrong.
The clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward was seemingly seeking to sign already established players on inflated transfers and massive wages. However, this approach did not work with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez, who is still a United player.
Solskjaer brought in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes in the past year, all four signings doing well at the club, the latter only playing for the Old Trafford club since January. United will see Jadon Sancho as the number one target in the right-wing role, but Zaniolo could be a back up option.