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23yo’s agent seems to use Arsenal to get better contract

23yo’s agent seems to use Arsenal to get better contract

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MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 01: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 01, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY – OCTOBER 01: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 01, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Back at the start of 2019, Unai Emery and Raul Sanllehi reportedly got in touch with Nicolò Zaniolo’s agent to sound out the attacking midfielder about a move to Arsenal. Why both of them had to make the enquiry was never said.

The Zaniolo story ran for a couple of days in January that year, claiming that Arsenal had gone to scout Cengiz Under and left being impressed by Zaniolo instead.

Then, no more was heard about it and Arsenal brought in Dennis Suarez around 10 days after the Zaniolo story first appeared.

Yes. I’d forgotten about him, too.

Zaniolo signed for AS Roma in 2018, moving from Inter Milan for just £4.05m the day before his 19th birthday.

He then signed a new contract in the summer of 2019, and it is the expiration of that contract in 2024 that sees Arsenal being linked again.

Zaniolo would apparently like €4m-a-season after tax and Roma only want to pay him €3.5m. His agent would also like an appearance-based bonus system for his client while Roma want a team-success one.

They also want a €50m release clause in any new deal, something Zaniolo’s agent and the player are happy with, as long as the other two conditions are met.

Quite how much actual interest Arsenal have in the player is hard to say for definite but I would say there isn’t much, if any.

It was, after all, under Emery and Sanllehi that Arsenal were first said to be curious, and both those men were sacked long ago.

Given the information about salary differences and bonus demands, I suspect the inclusion of Arsenal (and Juventus) in any story, at this point, is no more than Zaniolo’s agent applying pressure on Roma via the media, something Gabriel Martinelli’s agent seems to be doing as well.

That might also account for the brief life of the story in 2019, too.

Valued at around £30m, Zaniolo has one assist in seven games for Roma this season and 22 goals, with 16 assists, in 118 appearances since joining the Italians.

A full Italy international, his nationality also makes this transfer seem even less likely.

Only three Italians have signed for Arsenal in the club’s history and it’s impossible to call any of Vito Mannone, Arturo Lipoli nor Emiliano Viviano a success story.

Mannone, now 34 and playing for Laurent Koscielny’s old club, FC Lorient, featured the most from that trio and he only played 23 times for Arsenal.

Arturo Lupoli, now retired, played just nine times (in which he scored three) for Arsenal, one of 24 clubs the 35-year-old played for.

Viviano, 36, didn’t make a single appearance for the senior Arsenal team.

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