X

Nicolo Zaniolo Signs 5-Year AS Roma Contract Amid Transfer Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

ROME, ITALY - AUGUST 11:  Nicolo Zaniolo of Roma looks on during the pre-season friendly match between AS Roma and Real Madrid at Stadio Olimpico on August 11, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Nicolo Zaniolo has put an end to the transfer speculation surrounding him by signing a new five-year contract with AS Roma.

The Giallorossi announced the news on Wednesday. Zaniolo said it was an easy decision to put pen to paper.

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

"A year ago it was an easy decision to choose Roma, and today it is even easier. I would like to thank the club for giving me the opportunity to tie myself even closer to these colours – it is exactly what I wanted.” - Nicolo Zaniolo https://t.co/G8pvS07P8z

The 20-year-old was strongly linked to Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus earlier this summer, per Football.London's Amie Wilson and Phil Spencer. Per Il Tempo (h/t Metro), Manchester United were also interested, but the youngster didn't leave for England before the Premier League's transfer window slammed shut.

Zaniolo only joined Roma in 2018 but had a major breakout season in the capital.

ROME, ITALY - AUGUST 11:  Nicolo Zaniolo of Roma in action during the pre-season friendly match between AS Roma and Real Madrid at Stadio Olimpico on August 11, 2019 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

He arrived as part of the deal that took Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan, a deal that has to be considered one of the worst in recent Italian football. Just one year later, Nainggolan is at Cagliari on loan, while Zaniolo has gone from a throw-in to one of the most valuable youngsters in Serie A.

The league's official YouTube account did a comparison video with Fiorentina's Federico Chiesa, another top prospect:

Zaniolo started 20 Serie A matches in his first season with Roma, scoring four goals and adding two assists. The versatile midfielder did his best work in an advanced role, and while he had his struggles and cooled off toward the end of the campaign, the potential he flashed led to all the exit speculation.

Like United star Paul Pogba, Zaniolo combines excellent size―190 cm―with deceptive athleticism and good technical ability. He can get out of tight spots with a simple turn, reads the play well and is always dangerous in and around the box.

LILLE, FRANCE - AUGUST 03: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma and Edgar Ie of Lille fight for the ball during the Friendly match between Lille and AS Roma at Stade Pierre Mauroy on August 03, 2019 in Lille, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

The youngster spent part of his academy days with Genoa, Fiorentina and Virtus Entella and has already played for three clubs during his professional career. Some stability can only help his development, so it's no surprise he has chosen to sign a new deal with Roma.

The Giallorossi gave him his chance last season and will most likely build their squad around their star midfielder in the coming years.