On pure talent and potential alone, Nicolo Zaniolo is arguably the most intriguing prospect to walk through the doors at Trigoria since the patron saint of our site first laced up his boots in the early 90s. A throw-in (of sorts) in the deal that sent Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan way back in 2018, it didn't take long for Zaniolo to work his way into the lineup, making his professional debut against Real Madrid. In the Champions League. On the road.
With a sculpted physique that belied his adolescence, the kid we soon called, well, The Kid, was a man amongst boys. We weren't quite sure what he'd become, but with a profile that was equal parts Kaka, Frank Lampard, and Karim Benzema, the sky was the limit.
Unfortunately for Zaniolo, the body that looks as if it were hewn from marble soon betrayed him, with The Kid losing parts of two seasons thanks to successive ACL tears. Undaunted by these setbacks, Zaniolo returned to the fold in 2021 but has struggled to discover the form that once made him one of the more promising prospects in the game.
This brings us to this afternoon's news: Nicolo Zaniolo is now officially for sale.
Much like Francesco Totti before him, Zaniolo's name was seldom free from the transfer rumor mill, with clubs as varied as Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Juventus itching to sign the former Inter Milan youth product. And now, according to Sport's Gianluca Di Marzio, Zaniolo's days in Rome may be numbered, as the club has reportedly put Zaniolo on the transfer market, once and for all.
However, since this is Roma we're talking about, nothing will be as easy as it seems. With the Giallorossi holding firm in their €40 million valuation and unwilling to accept anything less than a straight sale or a loan with an obligation to buy, Zaniolo and Roma may be stuck with each other for several more months.
With Zaniolo struggling to establish himself under Mourinho (and really, to prove himself full stop. He's never eclipsed 2,000 minutes nor scored more than six goals in Serie A), it may be difficult for Roma to even sniff €40 million. But with Zaniolo essentially being booed off the pitch last week against Bologna, this marriage may be beyond repair.
We wrap up most of our transfer stories like this, but you'll definitely want to stay tuned to this story. Love him or hate him; this transfer could change everything for Roma.
Whether that's for the better or worse is open to interpretation.