I have lost count of how many times we've passed along headlines like "Roma and So and So Agree on New Deal” only to see said player sold and/or demand a transfer not long after the new deal was brokered. It's hard to say why these stories leak—could be a slow news day, could be jockeying on the part of the players agent, or it could be a complete smoke screen—and while I take them with a grain of salt, given the magnitude of the player involved this time, I felt compelled to discuss it.
Nicolo Zaniolo is not just another hyped up prospect. With five goals and two assists in 28 appearances, Zaniolo has not only found a role with Roma, he's quickly becoming one of their most indispensable players. And the fact that he's done this at all of 19-years-old is nothing short of remarkable.
We've discussed it many times already, but Zaniolo was NEVER supposed to achieve so much so soon. He wasn't exactly a throw-in to lower Radja Nainggolan's transfer fee—he was a widely regarded prospect—but I'm not sure many people expected Zaniolo to garner many Serie A minutes this season, let alone become the future of the franchise in his first six months on the job.
Zaniolo blossoming so soon has been a boon for Roma's chances on the pitch, but it's also got the vultures circling, as everyone from Juventus to Real Madrid are drooling at the prospect of adding Zaniolo, doubly so now that Roma are in danger of missing the Champions League next season.
So, with word trickling out today that Roma and Zaniolo have agreed to a new five-year deal, I suppose we should be excited, but my experience with these stories, not to mention as a Roma fan in general, has taught me to temper my expectations. Until this contract extension is confirmed, I'll still be terrified every time I see Zaniolo's name in the news. Remember, with all things Roma (the players, the kits, the stadium) nothing is real until it is.
However, putting all that aside, the particulars of this alleged deal are as follows: Zaniolo signs an extension with Roma through 2023 and sees his salary jump from €300,000 to nearly €2 million.
No doubt he could make more from Real Madrid or any of several Premiership suitors, but this would be a signal of intent from both sides. For Roma, giving The Kid a 600% raise is indicative of their belief in his talents and abilities, while Zaniolo binding himself to the club through the early part of the next decade gives credence to his desire to be a Roma-lifer.
All we can do now is wait with baited breath. We see stories like this nearly every year, but I'm not sure we've seen one as important as this in ages.