According to Sky Sports, as cited by Calciomercato, AS Roma have set a €70 million price-tag for star midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo. The Italian international has been linked with a move away from Stadio Olimpico this summer after Roma missed out on Champions League football next season.
The report claims that Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur are among the clubs interested in his services. But, Roma have so far remained reluctant in letting go of their prized midfielder and are holding out for offers similar to what Liverpool paid for Alisson last summer.
Nicolo Zaniolo’s rise at Roma
Zaniolo left Inter Milan for AS Roma last summer for a fee of €4.5 million -a price that was considered too expensive by some critics. But, the playmaker has proven his doubters wrong, having become a crucial part of Roma’s creative department and recently earning a call-up to the national side.
After making just one appearance till October, Zaniolo became a first-team regular for Roma since the start of November and has since featured in 27 league matches, during which he scored four goals and provided two assists.
Zaniolo’s service in the middle of the park has been a huge help for the Giallorossi despite a turbulent campaign that saw them finish sixth in the Serie A table, behind both AC Milan and Inter.
What can Zaniolo bring to the table?
Although a central midfielder by trade, Zaniolo is more of an attack-minded midfielder, who is always on the lookout for that defence-threading pass in behind the backline. He has excellent close control while his silky footwork allows him to drift past defender as well as help him nestle through tight spaces.
The 19-year-old is also a versatile operator, having featured as a right-winger under Claudio Ranieri during the second half of this past campaign. Also, the Italian international is proficient when it comes to set-pieces while his willingness to close down opponents makes him a unique component in midfield.
Should Tottenham make a move for Zaniolo?
Zaniolo can be considered as another potential replacement for Christian Eriksen. The Dane has been linked with a move away from North London, with Real Madrid being a likely destination. The Italian has the quality to replace Eriksen with his impressive chance creation and set-piece prowess.
That being said, paying €70 million to someone as inexperienced as Zaniolo might not make a world of sense for Tottenham. And at the age of 19, it remains doubtful as to whether or not he will able to adapt to the different style of football in the Premier League as well as the culture – making him a risky option for the Lilywhites.
Spurs have been looking at Real Betis midfield Giovani Lo Celso this summer. And one could argue that the Argentine would be a better option than Zaniolo, although he is likely to cost significantly more than, with Betis still holding out for his €100 million release clause.