It seems unlikely, considering the club are struggling to negotiate a £25m deal for Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, but the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera are reporting that Arsenal have contacted the agent of Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo with a €60m (£54m) cash offer.
At the moment, it is believed the 20-year-old is keen on staying in Italy, with Juventus another potential suitor, but it is claimed that Juve would struggle to come up with the money. They may offer Gonzalo Higuain in part exchange but Roma are unconvinced by the offer.
Tottenham are also involved, but their own bid has also hit the buffers with Spurs wanting to include both Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Sissoko in the deal. The Corriere Della Sera say its leaves Arsenal with the hope of getting a deal over the line. So who is Zaniolo and why would the club reportedly be willing to pay so much for him?
On the face it, £54m looks like an outlandish number considering the Italian has spent just one season playing first-team football. He joined Roma from Inter Milan for only £4m last summer and proceeded to establish himself very quickly in the first team.
Zaniolo made his debut back in September, in a 3-0 Champions league group stage defeat to Real Madrid, before making his first league appearance a week later in a 4-0 win over Frosinone.
The 19-year-old then scored his first goal on Boxing Day in a 3-1 win over Sassuolo. His most notable performance, however, came in the Champions League last 16 first leg tie against Porto. He scored a brace in the 2-1 win at home.
Zaniolo went on to score six goals and contribute two assists in 36 appearances for Roma last campaign. It’s hardly a record that warrants the £54m price tag, but the midfielder is a player with huge potential.
Just looking at his underlying numbers, you can see what he could bring to the table. He loves to dribble. According to Wyscout, he averaged 6.47 dribbles per game last season, which is higher than average for a central midfielder.
Zaniolo also likes to try defence-splitting passes, making 15 through balls last campaign, while he will try his luck from range, averaging at least two shots per match from a number ten or a right-wing position.
There are a number of areas in his game that need improvement, though. For a player in his position, his passing is inconsistent and he is prone to losing possession (averaging 10.59 losses per match).
Zaniolo is a raw talent, but with top clubs after his signature, it appears, at least from reports coming out from Italy, that Arsenal are looking to make a statement by trying to sign him too.