If there has been one thread that has been constant dating back even earlier than Fabio Paratici’s tenure at Tottenham Hotspur director of football, it’s been an interest in signing Nicolo Zaniolo. So what’s this? Another Nicolo Zaniolo rumor? Well all right then, let’s talk about it.
According to Gianluca DiMarzio, Roma is willing to sell Zaniolo for the right price in January, with Tottenham listed as an interested suitor along with West Ham and Dortmund. DiMarzio even says here that Spurs made an offer for a loan with an obligation to purchase if certain criteria are met.
Enter Sky Italia, who has a follow-up article saying that this loan offer has been rejected by Roma, because the sale trigger conditions were not acceptable to the Serie A club. Roma apparently wants any purchase obligation to be “on fairly easy terms,” meaning they’re ready to dump him and want it to be basically trivial for Zaniolo to meet those triggers. Sky suggests he could be purchased outright for €40m.
In the past, we’ve been skeptical about Zaniolo’s fit at Tottenham, but despite being linked to him since 2019 he’s still somehow just 23 years old, and would be a welcome addition to a team that seems to be absolutely desperate for a dribbly creative attacking midfielder. He can play (and has played) forward for Roma as well, so he would be an option in Tottenham’s forward line, and Conte seemingly wants another attacker this month.
Zaniolo has been taking a lot of shots this season at Roma, averaging more than 3.5 S/90, and is a big beefy dude which might appeal to Conte, but he’s not the greatest of passers and apparently has really fallen out of favor in Rome — Sky notes that he was basically whistled off the pitch recently by Roma fans in a recent match vs. Bologna. But at this point, Spurs need to do SOMETHING and Nicolo Zaniolo is at least showing that he’s a guy with a higher ceiling. Maybe getting him out of Jose Mourinho’s clutches might be the thing to kick-start his career.
Anyway, this is another one to track as we head into the back half of the January transfer window.