Leeds United have been tipped to seal a late move for Roma midfielder, Nicolo Zaniolo, with the Italy international facing an uncertain future at the Stadio Olimpico.
What’s the word?
Reports earlier today claimed that Whites sporting director Victor Orta had made a loan-to-buy offer for the 23-year-old, with the towering playmaker having also been linked with a £31m switch to fellow Premier League side Bournemouth in recent times.
According to transfer insider Dean Jones – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – the Elland Road outfit could well capitalise on the player’s apparent desire to leave his current side, by making a concrete move before the deadline.
The respected journalist stated: “Leeds could take advantage of a tricky situation but they only wanted a loan and other clubs, including some in Italy, are having a look. We know Zaniolo is stuck between a rock and a hard place because he needs to leave Roma.”
The addition of Zaniolo could well allow Orta and Jesse Marsch the chance to secure an upgrade on summer signing Brenden Aaronson, with the USA international having been unable to truly make his mark in the playmaking berth so far this season.
Although the 22-year-old’s relentless work ethic has been commendable – as he notably ranks in the top 4% among his European peers for blocks made – he has been unable to offer a greater end product to go with it, having scored just once and laid on only two assists in 22 games in all competitions this season.
For a player that is seemingly meant to be the creative hub of the side, such a limp return is no doubt something of a problem for the Yorkshire outfit, hence the possible desire to provide quality competition in the form of the Roma maestro.
The latter man – who has been described as “such a special player” by journalist Carlo Garganese in the past – has already provided five goal involvements in 17 outings in all competitions, despite a spell out with injury, after previously registering eight goals and nine assists under Jose Mourinho last season.
That difference in attacking threat between the pair is also illustrated by the fact that Zaniolo ranks in the top 4% for total shots and the top 11% for progressive passes received, while Aaronson ranks in just the bottom 14% and the bottom 17% for the same two metrics, respectively.
While Marsch may be inclined to stick by his compatriot – who cost in the region of £24.7m back in May – the evidence would suggest that it is Zaniolo whom the former RB Leipzig coach could really build his team around.