According o the Chronicle, Newcastle scouts have been watching highly-rated Roma talent Nicolo Zaniolo ahead of a potential summer bid.
The 19-year-old is said to be one of the hottest talents in Italy, with him recently scoring twice in Roma’s 2-1 win over Porto in the Champions League.
Zaniolo – an attacking midfielder – stands 6ft 2′ tall and has bagged 5 goals and 2 assists for the Italian giants so far this season, with his performances said to have attracted interest from European giants Real Madrid and Juventus.
Here’s what the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has had to say on our interest, saying Rafa is up to speed on his progress after several scouting trips:
‘Newcastle United are keeping tabs on Italian wonderkid Nicolò Zaniolo.
‘Sources in Italy have revealed that United scouts have checked out the 19-year-old AS Roma midfielder after emerging as one of Serie A’s top young talents.
‘Zaniolo ended up at Roma as part of a swap deal with Inter Milan last season as the teenager and ex-Toon defender Davide Santon were traded for Radja Nainggolan.
‘However, Inter’s judgment has been questioned as the midfield youngster’s part in the deal was valued at just €4.5million.’
‘United are looking closely at the central midfield area with Mo Diame potentially leaving the club this summer and speculation over Jonjo Shelvey growing on the football circuit, with West Ham monitoring his situation.’
‘Rafa Benitez is well up to speed on Zaniolo’s progress but has no idea how much Newcastle will give him to spend next summer.’
I don’t claim to know much about the Italian, but with Transfermarkt.co.uk valuing him at £36m and claims that he’s being tracked by several huge clubs, I don’t see this being a realistic option for Rafa.
We’ve found bargains out of nowhere in the past – see Dubravka, Schar’s £3m release clause and Lejeune for £8.7m – but this guy won’t come cheap.
One to watch, but don’t get your hopes up!