Roma attacker Nicolo Zaniolo has broken his silence with an open letter asking his club’s fans to welcome him back, despite submitting a late transfer request.
Tottenham and Leeds United registered an interest in signing the 23-year-old, but it was ultimately Bournemouth who came closest to sealing a late deal.
However, the Cherries pulled out of negotiations on deadline day, leaving Zaniolo, in his own words, ‘at the complete disposal of the Roma family.’
Speculation was rife surrounding the Italian’s future last month after he refused to sign a contract extension with Jose Mourinho’s side and then attempted to force a last-minute departure.
As mentioned, Bournemouth almost signed Zaniolo after reaching an agreement with Roma, but the player initially declined their offer, causing them to look elsewhere for reinforcements.
He later backtracked on his decision, but by that point, the Cherries had decided against signing Zaniolo due to financial concerns.
The recent rumours sparked a furious reaction from some Roma supporters who allegedly threatened Zaniolo with violence, as well as some turning up outside his family home.
As reported on Wednesday, the player has considered launching a legal suit against Roma, mounting accusations of ‘mobbing and psychological pressure.’
However, his recent statement suggests that he now wants to rebuild his connection with the Roma fans.
Zaniolo attempts to rebuild bond with fans after Prem rumours
In a letter sent to Italian news agency ANSA, via Football Italia, he wrote: “Many things have been said and written in the last few weeks that are not true.
“I arrived at Roma as an unknown player and the fans welcomed me as one of their own. They gave me confidence, courage and affection in the terrible and dark moments of my injuries.
“At the age of 23, I have been through experiences that many of my colleagues haven’t had in their entire careers: falling down, getting back up, falling again, climbing once more, winning.
“In the last few months, it has been a delicate period for me, when it became difficult for me to understand what my professional future would be.
“However, I always worked hard on the pitch and in training with the utmost professionalism.”
Zaniolo then refers directly to the threats he received from certain Roma ‘ultras,’ which he blames on unjustified media backlash.
He added: “For the first time, I was afraid, for me and my family, and I felt abandoned. It had never happened to me before and I was terrified.
“The future is in our hands: I hold out mine and put myself at the complete disposal of the Roma family.”
Now, Zaniolo is set to remain with Mourinho’s side until at least the end of the season. However, it remains to be seen if the former Spurs and Chelsea manager will pick him in his squad given the recent speculation.
It also remains to be seen if Zaniolo will launch a legal suit against Roma, but given the sentiment in his statement, it suggests he wants to fight and regain his spot in the starting lineup.