AS Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo was once touted to be a priority transfer target for Juventus this summer, but the Bianconeri are believed to have cooled their interest for two reasons.
Zaniolo was linked with Juventus immediately after the closure of the January transfer window. Such links intensified once the news regarding Paulo Dybala’s future broke at the end of March, with Zaniolo, along with Sassuolo’s Giacomo Raspadori, believed to be the most likely options to replace Dybala in Turin.
2 reasons why Juventus’ pursuit of Nicolo Zaniolo has been put on hold
Gianluca Di Marzio (via @BianconeriZone) lists the two reasons why Juve’s pursuit of the Roman has been put on hold.
1. Potential fee
Juventus require reinforcements at several positions this summer, including central midfield, left-back and centre-back, so they can ill-afford to spend big on Zaniolo if they’re intending to also bring in Raspadori.
The club are set to pursue Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer, who could cost upwards of €50/60m, and offer potential free agent Antonio Rudiger a lucrative long-term contract.
Thus, Juve simply don’t have the financial capacity to match Roma’s reported asking price for the Italian. Last month it was reported that the Giaollorossi value Zaniolo at €70m. Although, a fee in the region of €40m should be enough to appease Roma.
Still, that’s cash Juve simply don’t have lying around.
2. Position switch
Zaniolo burst onto the scene playing as a direct wide player off the right in a 4-2-3-1. However, under Jose Mourinho this season, the Italian has primarily lined up as part of the front two in the manager’s 3-5-2.
It’s taken some time for the 22-year-old to find his feet once more after suffering back-to-back ACL tears, but his recent displays suggest that he’s close to rediscovering his most potent form. Zaniolo bagged a hat-trick in Roma’s 4-0 victory over Bodø/Glimt to send the Giallorossi into the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League. Then, he was a constant threat in behind in the 1-1 draw with Napoli on Monday.
It’s understood that this transformation into a striker has deterred Juventus, who want to transition to a 4-3-3 next season, even though Mourinho has utilised Zaniolo in this role since the end of 2021.
So, for me, this isn’t a valid reason to not pursue Zaniolo this summer. The Italian’s injury and disciplinary records are greater concerns.