Zaniolo’s transfer saga: Premier League turnaround, AS Roma legal action and summer move to AC Milan

The major transfer story in Serie A throughout January concerned the future of AS Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo. He may have ended up staying at the club, but it is far from the end of the story.

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Nicolo Zaniolo will remain at AS Roma after a transfer away from the Italian capital failed to materialise before the winter transfer window closed, following a protracted saga that has done no favours for the player.

The 23-year-old could have signed for either Bournemouth, Leeds United, or AC Milan, but deals with them broke down at varying times in the window, forcing the Italian forward to stay in Rome.

Zaniolo’s initial rejection of a transfer to The Cherries has made the Roma hierarchy irate, and he is expected to be completely frozen out of the Giallorossi squad for the remainder of the 2022/23 season as well as the next one if he is not sold in the summer.

Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo celebrate in the Europa League. (@OfficialASRoma)

Zaniolo’s Bournemouth u-turn

Bournemouth were arguably the most eager club to acquire Zaniolo, offering Roma €30 million for the Italy international. However, the 23-year-old rejected the move because he wanted to join a club that was not battling for survival in the Premier League.

This prompted Leeds United to consider a purchase of the Giallorossi forward, but they could not come to an agreement with the Italian club as they wanted him to be bought outright. Eager to leave Rome at any cost, Zaniolo finally agreed to join Bournemouth and his flight for England was booked, only for the English club to have bought Hamed Traore from Sassuolo. That meant that they had spent their budget for January and the deal was off.

Roma failed to get the sale they wanted and are expected to banish the Italy international for not making the move to England as well as voicing his refusal to train with the Giallorossi squad.

Family of Zaniolo plan to sue AS Roma

Il Messaggero reports that Zaniolo’s family intend to sue Roma, accusing the club of mobbing him and putting psychological pressure on him to leave. There has been a group of lawyers contacted to represent him and also to allow him to focus on his football as this saga plays out.

He is currently in his home town of La Spezia but he is expected to return to Rome within days and he has not formally been placed on the exclusion list as yet.

The player released a letter to ANSA on Thursday to discuss the saga and tell his side of the story.

“Many things have been said and written about me in recent weeks and many are not true,” the letter began. I arrived in Rome as a stranger and Roma and Romanisti welcomed me as one of them. They gave me confidence, courage and affection in the terrible and dark moments of injuries,” he said.

AS Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo in action against Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico. [@OfficialASRoma]

“In the last few months, I have gone through a delicate period, in which it was difficult to understand what my professional future would be. However, I have always applied myself in the field and in training with the utmost professionalism.

“For the first time these days I was afraid, for myself and my family, and I felt abandoned. It had never happened to me and I got very scared. The future is in our hands: I stretch mine and I put myself at the complete disposal of the Roma family.”

AC Milan will try to sign Zaniolo in the summer

Zaniolo was eager to join AC Milan in January but their offer was below what Roma want for the Italian forward.

According to Tuttosport, the Rossoneri offered to pay their Roman counterparts €500,000 for the 23-year-old to join on loan with an obligation to be bought outright for €17.5 million plus bonuses if they reached the Champions League.

This proposal was rejected by the Giallorossi as they want over €30 million for him. AC Milan will try again in the summer to lure Zaniolo to the north of Italy and Roma might accept a deal instead of risk losing him on a free transfer in 2024.

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