Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Major Aston Villa star’s time is up, with exit decision made for understandable reason

Aston Villa stars Nicolo Zaniolo and Ollie Watkins

Aston Villa will pull the plug on one of their own attackers, with a report claiming a summer exit will now take shape.

Unai Emery’s side remain on course for a top four finish that would secure Champions League qualification for the first time in the Premier League era. Aston Villa are also going for glory in the Europa Conference League and drew Ajax in the Round of 16 stage on Friday.

It’s been a wildly encouraging campaign at Villa Park on the back of an equally impressive summer transfer window.

Emery drafted in a series of high profile stars including Pau Torres, Clement Lenglet (loan) ,Youri Tielemans, Moussa Diaby and Nicolo Zaniolo (loan).

The latter on that list cost £4.25m by way of a loan fee. A ‘conditional compulsory purchase option’ was also negotiated with parent club Galatasaray.

Zaniolo hasn’t exactly set the world alight during his loan spell, with just two goals notched and zero assists provided in 27 appearances.

Now, according to online outlet Football Insider, Villa have already decided they’ll not sign Zaniolo outright when the campaign concludes.

The parameters that would trigger the conditional obligation reportedly haven’t been met so far. What’s more, Villa and Emery seemingly have no intention of doing what’s required to activate them.

The clause is worth £19.2m plus £13.2m in possible add-ons. That is a hefty price to pay for a player who has provided minimal end product, though FI stress there’s another reason behind Villa’s unwillingness to sign Zaniolo to a permanent deal.

FI add the player’s chequered injury record is at the root of Villa’s concerns. As such, the club don’t believe the Italy international would be capable of making a long-term impact at Villa Park.

Zaniolo has enjoyed a relatively clean bill of health in England, though did suffer two ACL tears during his Roma days.

If FI are accurate, Zaniolo will now return to Turkey with Galatasaray at the end of the current campaign.

DON’T MISS: Arsenal plotting sensational double Villa coup that will strike fear into Man City and Liverpool