With Eden Hazard’s departure from Chelsea seemingly imminent — not to mention a rare open midweek — Silly Season has started even earlier than usual. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), Chelsea are the latest club set the join the race for AS Roma young attacker Nicolò Zaniolo.
The 19-year-old was part of the deal package that sent midfielder (and former Chelsea target) Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma to Inter Milan last summer, but his minutes were limited until November. Since then however, he has become the latest young sensation in Italian football thanks to his skills and, perhaps more importantly, a bit of actual end product from central attacking midfield (he led Inter’s youth team in scoring last season).
Obviously, taking him from Roma after just one season will not be easy for anyone, but Gazzetta claim that all the big boys are already interested, including Real Madrid and Juventus. As it so often happens, there’s also concurrent talk of a contract extension, with Roma looking to lock down the €40m-rated teenager through 2024, or whenever his inevitable exit arrives.
Zaniolo is certainly an interesting name and one to keep an eye on, especially if he keeps posting good numbers in Serie A, but it may be a bit too soon for him to truly hit the big time just yet.
Top 20 u25 midfielders and attacking mids (basically, 8s and 10s) with 850+ minutes for open play xG+xA/90. A lot of clubs are on the lookout for a slightly advanced midfielder, especially Arsenal and Chelsea, and it's worth looking at some of the get-able players from this list. pic.twitter.com/AmY8fuL0VE— Ashwin Raman (@AshwinRaman_) February 4, 2019