Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Incredible Aston Villa U-turn as imminent transfer could be ‘blown up’ due to big concern – report

Nicolo Zaniolo, Roma, August 2022

Nicolo Zaniolo plays for Roma in August 2022

Aston Villa are considering backing out of the deal to sign Nicolo Zaniolo from Galatasaray over one key issue, according to a report.

Zaniolo has emerged as a key target for Villa boss Unai Emery ever since fellow star Emi Buendia suffered a serious knee ligament injury. Buendia, who made 41 appearances last season, is expected be out for an extended period, though his exact return date is unknown.

Emery believes Zaniolo has the ability required to replace Buendia in the Villa starting eleven. As a result, the West Midlands side began talks with Galatasaray on August 10.

Newcastle United had been looking into signing him, but new Villa president of football operations Monchi began trying to hijack that deal on Emery’s behalf.

Villa then accelerated the transfer discussions, which led to an agreement being reached for Zaniolo. According to Fabrizio Romano, Villa have agreed to sign the attacking midfielder on a loan-to-buy deal worth €27million (£23m). Zaniolo would spend the entire 2023-24 campaign on loan at Villa, and they would then have the option to sign him permanently next summer if he impresses.

Despite the transfer getting Romano’s ‘here we go’ seal of approval, a report on Gianluca Di Marzio’s website has cast serious doubt over whether the deal will be completed.

It is claimed that Zaniolo’s future ‘is yet to be decided’ as Villa are expressing concern about his physical condition. More specifically, Villa are worried about the Italian potentially picking up a knee injury early into his debut Premier League season.

Zaniolo has had several injury problems in the last few years, including issues regarding his knees. And if Villa are not convinced that he will be able to play regularly for them, then they will consider ‘blowing up’ the transfer.

Nicolo Zaniolo to Aston Villa under threat

Alternatively, the report states that Villa may ask Galatasaray for ‘guarantees’ over payments. Presumably, this would mean Villa not paying all of the money for Zaniolo in case he ends up missing matches through injury.

But it would make more sense for Villa to completely torpedo the deal if they are concerned about Zaniolo’s physical condition. There is no point in replacing Buendia with another player who may end up getting injured too.

Villa’s decision is expected ‘in the next few hours’, which suggests we will know by the end of Friday whether they intend to go through with the capture or find another playmaker.