Leeds avoided disaster with Nicolo Zaniolo

Leeds United were shrewd and speedy in most of their dealings over the January transfer window and yet were linked with their fair share of transfer sagas.

Whilst a touted move for Azzedine Ounahi dominated the opening stages of the month, it was Nicolo Zaniolo who took over that role whilst the Moroccan signed for Marseille.

The Italian was linked to several top European clubs, including the Whites, and yet in the end the wantaway attacker ended up staying at AS Roma at least until the season’s end. AFC Bournemouth even saw a €35m (£31m) bid accepted, but could not tempt him to the south coast of England despite the forward having requested a transfer.

Whilst it seemed like a tantalising move, to bid for a 23-year-old European talent who has already shown flashes of brilliance across his short career, in the end, Victor Orta probably avoided a huge deadline-day disaster by opting against signing him.

After all, his side had already enjoyed a fine window of high-quality incomings.

Whilst Zaniolo starred last season, he had shown little this campaign to suggest he warranted such a price tag. Across 13 Serie A appearances, he has just one goal and zero assists. His only worthwhile contribution has come in the Europa League, where he admittedly has starred. He boasts one goal and three assists in three games.

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Question 1. After starring for England at the 2002 World Cup, how much did Leeds sell Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for?

This is a far cry from last campaign, where across all competitions he boasted eight goals and nine assists, earning praise as he ranked in the top 4% for total shots when compared to other attacking midfielders across Europe.

As such, he was lauded by Nick Mercadante for these displays: “Zaniolo in form is a nightmare for Serie A, and The Answer for Italy. He’s an absolute monster.”

Despite being a clear goalscoring threat, he has not converted this into tangible output enough to command such attention.

Especially when Jesse Marsch already had unloaded a club record fee on Georginio Rutter, to provide competition and backup to Rodrigo.

Should Leeds have signed Zaniolo?





Although it might have been tempting at times, to scupper what was a largely solid window with this risk would have gone against everything they stood for this window. Leeds were firm in their bargaining and got who they wanted, not allowing themselves to get caught up in bidding wars. 

As such, they are now in a far better position as February starts than they were before domestic football recommenced.