Leeds make stunning last-minute move for Serie A attacker and confirm first deadline day arrival

Date published: Tuesday 31st January 2023 9:39 - Harry Watkinson

Chelsea-linked Zaniolo

Leeds United are eyeing a stunning deadline day move for Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo with the player keen on a switch to the Premier League, according to reports.

The 23-year-old’s relationship with the Italian giants has broken down after negotiations over a new contract stalled, leaving the prospect of a last-minute winter transfer likely.

Jesse Marsch’s team have tabled an initial loan offer, with an obligation to buy if Zaniolo plays a certain amount of matches for Leeds this season.

Roma have previously stated they are not willing to accept a loan with just an option to buy, with Jose Mourinho seeking a guaranteed obligation if Zaniolo is allowed to leave.

Football365 recently reported that Tottenham had made an offer for the attacker, but the Giallorossi turned it down as they were not happy with having no obligation in the deal.

Now, according to Italian outlet Calcio Mercato, Leeds represents Zaniolo’s ‘last hope’ as he looks for a way out of the San Siro.

Zaniolo has been an ever-present figure in Roma’s team since joining from Inter Milan in 2018 and has featured heavily this season since recovering from a shoulder injury in September.

Overall, in 128 appearances for the Italian club, Zaniolo has scored 24 goals, as well as contributing 18 assists, playing a key role in Mourinho’s team’s recent success.

Zaniolo is a versatile player, with the ability to play as an attacking midfielder, a winger, or as a second striker, so he could provide cover in several positions for Marsch.

However, Zaniolo’s recent form has not been brilliant of late, with speculation that the ongoing rift behind the scenes is a big factor.

The clear issue with Leeds’ deal, however, is that Roma are reportedly not happy with their offer of the loan only having an obligation to buy if he meets certain performance-related requirements this season.

As a result, negotiations have now come to a standstill. But, Calcio Mercato suggest that there could be ‘important news in the next few hours’, meaning there is a still possibility for the deal to take shape.

Meanwhile, Leeds have already announced their first deadline day addition in the form of promising defender Diogo Monteiro from Swiss Super League side Servette FC.

The 18-year-old made his professional debut at 16, becoming the third-youngest player to make an appearance in Switzerland’s top flight. So far, he has played seven times in all competitions for Servette, who are currently third in the table.

The centre-back has also made a number of international appearances through various age groups for Portugal, from under-15s to under-19 levels, representing his country over 30 times.

The youngster has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract at Elland Road and will initially join up with the under-21s squad.

While Monteiro is a good signing for the future, Zaniolo would be a more immediate improvement to Marsch’s squad. So, if Leeds can get a deal over the line, it would be a major deadline day signing.

READ MORE: Leeds United sign Juventus star Weston McKennie on loan with an option to buy in the summer

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