Manchester United and Chelsea retain an interest in Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo despite him still being on the comeback from a second serious injury.
Zaniolo outlined himself as one of the most promising young players in Serie A after joining Roma in 2018. However, he suffered an ACL injury in January 2020 and then the same tear happened to his opposite knee just a few months after his return. Hence, he has not played at all this season.
Despite this, Zaniolo remains on the radar of a number of top European clubs. For example, Man Utd are believed to have been watching him since 2019.
The attacking midfielder remains under contract at Roma until 2024. However, they are likely to have to fend off interest from other clubs in that time.
Bids could even arrive this summer, with the Premier League a potential destination. Now, Il Messaggero claim that United and Chelsea are both battling to sign him.
Given his recent injuries, the English duo are hoping to take advantage of a potentially lower transfer value. It is claimed that United could try their luck at around €30m.
Roma appear to have no interest in entertaining such offers, though. They remain confident that Zaniolo will get back to his best when he returns, meaning his value would be much higher.
As the Italy international nears a return to training with the youth team, Roma are considering a new contract to secure his services for the future.
United and Chelsea could be monitoring developments, though, as they ponder a summer move.
The Red Devils have been looking for a new right winger for around a year. Their top target last summer was Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, but they couldn’t meet the asking price.
Instead, they focused on younger reinforcements such as Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri. Should Zaniolo get back up to speed, though, he would be more first-team ready.
His ability to play in a more central midfield role would also be appealing.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have been left disappointed with some of their summer investments. Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz have both failed to flourish, for example.
Zaniolo is capable of playing in either of their positions, so could be seen as a replacement if they decide to change things around.
Man Utd learn Lingard decision
The chances of Man Utd bidding for Zaniolo may be dependent on the future of Jesse Lingard.
The England international has got his career back on track since joining West Ham on loan in January. Now, the attention is turning to his long-term future.
According to ESPN, Lingard is reported to have told Man Utd he will gladly return – but only if he’s offered a more regular role. With just a year left on his contract, the 28-year-old would also want an extension to that arrangement.
It leaves United and Solskjaer with something of a decision to make this summer. However, all hope is not lost for West Ham. United could yet to decide to cash in on the player. Furthermore, Solskjaer could also decide that, despite his rich form, he cannot be guaranteed a regular shirt.
As a No 10, Lingard faces the toughest possible competition in the form of Bruno Fernandes at Old Trafford.
But if Lingard departs, United will still need competition for Fernandes – which Zaniolo could provide.