Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Liverpool Keen On Making A Summer Move For This Serie A Midfielder: Is He The Right Fit For Klopp?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to Thursday’s print edition of Tuttosport (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), Liverpool are keen on making a summer move to acquire the services of Nicolo Zaniolo from AS Roma. The same source has also mentioned that the Reds are ‘hot’ on the Italian midfielder’s trail with his current club Roma unwilling to lose him in the upcoming summer transfer window. It is believed that the Merseyside outfit could face stiff competition from Juventus in pursuit of the ex-Inter Milan playmaker, but Paulo Fonseca’s team will not entertain any bids’ below €60m’ if they decide to part ways with their prized asset which could make it difficult for Juve to land him (via Tuttosport).

Zaniolo’s Impressive Form Despite A Big Injury Scare This Season

Zaniolo is currently sidelined due to a cruciate ligament rupture which has kept him out of several matches for Roma this season. However, he deserves a lot of credit for producing a few memorable performances at the Stadio Olimpico during this campaign. The Massa-born attacking midfielder has registered six goals and two assists in 24 matches for the Italian giants this term in multiple competitions which highlight how much he has matured as a player over the past ten months.

The 20-year-old has shown a run of consistency with his performances this season after averaging 1.9 shots, 1.0 key passes and 2.4 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Serie A. The Italian starlet has shown slightly better numbers in Europe as evidenced by his average of 2.0 shots, 1.7 key passes and 4.2 dribbles in the six UEFA Europa League games he has been a part of so far (stats via whoscored).

Zaniolo has enjoyed an impressive start to his journey at the international stage based on his record of netting two goals in five senior appearances for the Italian national side. If the Roma whizkid can show some signs of progress upon his return from injury later this year, then he could have a decent shot of being selected in Italy boss Roberto Mancini’s squad for next year’s UEFA European Championship finals.

Liverpool keen on making a summer move for Nicolo Zaniolo who seems to be in agony in the picture
Staff medics tend to AS Roma’s Italian midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo (R) after he was injured during the Italian Serie A football match AS Roma vs Juventus on January 12, 2020, at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Italian International Bring To The Table?

Zaniolo has proven himself to have excellent close control of the ball that allows him to dribble past the opposition and cause a lot of headaches for them in and around the opposition penalty box. He is a tireless worker in the opposition half and is not shy about utilising his strength and aggression to shrug off his marker going forward.

The Italian prospect also has the vision to pick out a decisive pass in the final third but needs to work on improving his end-product if he wants to break into the world-class bracket someday. Zaniolo has gradually transformed himself into a potent goal-scorer from midfield but still has a long way to go before he is ready to taste success at the highest level.

Jurgen Klopp will need to be patient with the Italian playmaker if he ends up bringing him to Anfield this summer. He is not a midfielder who will improve the quality of the Liverpool first-team. Hence, it doesn’t make sense for the Reds to launch an approach for Zaniolo in this off-season.

Is Zaniolo The Right Fit For The 2019 UEFA Champions League Winners?

At the moment, he won’t be a good fit for the Merseyside outfit as they are quite well-stacked in the attacking department. The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are still guaranteed starters in the Liverpool first-team. Furthermore, the likes of Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino can offer adequate cover for the attacking positions in the upcoming campaign which means that the Reds have no room left even for a player of Zaniolo’s potential.

Recruiting him would also derail the progress made by promising youngsters such as Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Harry Wilson as it could close the door for them to get more first-team opportunities in the coming seasons.

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