Can AS Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo make an impact at Chelsea?
Football London has revealed that Chelsea have joined the race for AS Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo as they look to prepare for life without Eden Hazard.
The AS Roma starlet is enjoying life at the Stadio Olimpico at the moment and has already made 20 appearances this season since his €4million move from Inter Milan in summer. The 19-year-old enjoyed spells at both Florentina and Inter Milan but struggled to make an impact due to a lack of game-time.
But despite that, he had more than enough talent to be noticed by AS Roma’s sporting director Monchi with the Spaniard playing a major part in bringing the Italian to the club. Since then, few have doubted Nicolo Zaniolo’s talent and his potential to become a next-generation superstar, alongside the likes of Justin Kluivert, Ante Coric and even Sandro Tonali.
Like many, Nicolo Zaniolo struggled at first to get into Eusebio Di Francesco’s side but eventually won the AS Roma manager over, making 10 starts in the last 12 Serie A games. However, for Chelsea, it’s his ability on the ball that Maurizio Sarri will love.
The 19-year-old is a strong dribbler and while he is a selfish player, the Italian finds most of his shots hitting the target more often than not.
That combined with his strength, vision and what is rather surprising speed from a 6’2” midfielder adds to his value. While Zaniolo won’t replace Eden Hazard, he will add something more to the Blues’ midfield and alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, they could become a rather lethal trio. Not to forget the 19-year-old’s work-rate and willingness to defend does make him the perfect man for Chelsea.
However, a move will be difficult especially given how highly rated the young Italian is at AS Roma, with Nicolo Zaniolo slowly becoming a fan favourite over the last few months.
Time will reveal everything but at the moment, any move in the summer window will be difficult as the move would probably cost upwards of €40million, with Chelsea facing competition from rivals Arsenal.
A move for the 19-year-old would effectively be the end of the road for both Ross Barkley and possibly Mateo Kovacic at the club. The Blues did spend heavily to add to their side last summer and signing Zaniolo ahead of the 2019/20 season would be some statement from Sarri.