Nicolo Zaniolo's Father Plays Down Mino Raiola Speculation Amid Juventus Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2019

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma  during the Italian Serie A   match between AS Roma v Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico Rome on February 18, 2019 in Rome Italy (Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The father of AS Roma rising star Nicolo Zaniolo has said the midfielder will not be joining super-agent Mino Raiola, and he will sign a new contract with the Giallorossi despite rumours linking him to Juventus.

As reported by Sport Mediaset (h/t Football Italia), the Bianconeri were said to be preparing a big offer for the youngster, while there were also reports Raiola was hoping to add Zaniolo to his stable of clients.

technical director Gerard Nijkamp, Carmine Mino Raiola, chairman Adriaan Visser during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Feyenoord Rotterdam and PEC Zwolle at the Kuip on October 21, 2018 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

His father Igor told Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) that won't be happening, however:

"Raiola asked for information and is interested in Zaniolo, but Vigorelli will remain Nicolo's agent for a long time.

"At the end of the season there will be a meeting with Roma for his renewal, and there won't be any problems.

"On both sides there's a willingness to conclude negotiations in a positive way. The recent talk has been bad for Roma and Nicolo.

"We all have to row on the same boat if he is to develop properly. We mustn't upset the fans and club: Roma are going for third place, there's the derby and then the match against Porto: for him the priority is the team and he only wants to think about the pitch."

The 19-year-old has been the top breakout star of the Serie A season, and predictably, transfer speculation has started making the rounds.

According to Tele Radio Stereo (h/t Football Italia), Arsenal and Real Madrid have been linked with the teenager.

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma  during the Italian Serie A   match between AS Roma v Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico Rome on February 18, 2019 in Rome Italy (Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Zaniolo moved to the Italian capital in the summer, as he was one of the players Roma acquired in the deal that sent Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan. While the youngster was something of an afterthought initially, he has established himself as one of Serie A's most exciting talents since, to the point where the deal now looks like one of the worst Inter have made in a long time.

Perhaps his best performance of the campaign so far came in the 2-1 win over Porto in the UEFA Champions League, where he netted both goals for the hosts:

That showing resulted in an impressive rating from WhoScored.com:

Zaniolo has drawn comparisons to Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba for his blend of size, technical ability, vision and scoring potential. He's already further advanced than Pogba was at his age, and if his development continues at such a rapid rate, Roma's asking price will rise accordingly.

That's what makes the coming summer crucial. Zaniolo has moved around a lot the last few years―he was with Fiorentina, Virtus Entella and Inter before landing in Rome―but has finally found a steady home, which should give the Giallorossi an edge.

Roma have a reputation for selling their top assets if the price is right, however, moving the likes of Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker and Nainggolan in recent years.

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