Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Game over for Aston Villa man as second source confirms spell ‘virtually closed’ after brutal Emery decision

Unai Emery and Nicolo Zaniolo, Aston Villa

Unai Emery refuses to start Nicolo Zaniolo for Aston Villa

Nicolo Zaniolo will almost certainly leave Aston Villa this summer, with a second outlet confirming that his loan move will not be made permanent.

After being heavily linked with Tottenham Hotspur and almost joining Bournemouth in the past, Zaniolo finally arrived in the Premier League last summer as he signed for Aston Villa. The Villans captured Zaniolo on an initial loan deal worth £4.25million.

The transfer included a ‘conditional compulsory purchase option’, most likely dependent on how many games the attacking midfielder plays. That obligatory buy clause is worth an initial £19m, plus a further £13m in potential add-ons.

But on Friday, it emerged that Villa will not be making the Zaniolo deal permanent. The conditions required to make the move long term have not been met, and Unai Emery has no intention of triggering them.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport have now backed up that previous reporting. They state that the 24-year-old’s adventure at Villa Park is ‘virtually closed’ as he looks set to spend most of the remainder of the campaign warming the bench before returning to Galatasaray this summer.

While Zaniolo has impressed Villa coaches with his professionalism and attitude in training, Emery has ultimately placed him quite far down in the pecking order.

DON’T MISS: Tottenham explode into race to sign quality eight-goal Championship winger despite Aston Villa buyback clause

Zaniolo can operate in a variety of positions including on the wing, but the likes of Leon Bailey, Jacob Ramsey and Moussa Diaby are all playing ahead of him.

Emery’s brutal decision means Zaniolo will have to head back to Turkey at the end of the season and re-assess his options. He could end up joining a different English club or return to his native Italy, as he is still a highly rated attacker.

Aston Villa player could miss Euros

For Zaniolo, his main concern right now is whether he will make the Italy squad for this summer’s European Championship.

The report adds that Italy boss Luciano Spalletti is ‘worried’ about Zaniolo’s lack of game time and has been in contact with both the player and Villa to find out what is going wrong.

But with Emery refusing to back down, it seems the former Roma ace could be dropped from international duty in the summer.

While Zaniolo is struggling at Villa, one player who is shining is midfielder Douglas Luiz. Arsenal have been linked with a sensational double move for both him and Ollie Watkins, though Mikel Arteta could miss out on the Brazilian to Manchester City.

READ MORE: £175m Arsenal dream in tatters as Man City accelerate move for ‘world-class’ Prem star