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Leeds: Nicolo Zaniolo would be an ideal Rodrigo heir

Leeds United once again performed admirably in their latest Premier League clash but came up short at home to Brentford.

In a game which finished 0-0, the Whites boasted 59% of the ball and had more shots, limiting the Bees to zero shots on target (via Sofascore).

It was their lack of cutting edge which prevented them from claiming all three points, as well as a defiant David Raya (five saves) in the Brentford goal, so perhaps the ongoing transfer window could help Leeds to acquire that touch of quality before it slams shut next week.

One name who continues to be touted with a move to the Premier League is Nicolo Zaniolo, who has fallen out of favour at AS Roma and was reportedly the subject of an enquiry by Victor Orta.

His manager Jose Mourinho even admitted that, despite expecting the Italian to stay, there has been a transfer request, saying in a statement subsequently relayed by Fabrizio Romano: “Nicoló Zaniolo has asked to leave the club — but it’s not sure that it’s gonna happen. Current proposals are not enough.

“We only need a good proposal to let Zaniolo leave, and we’ve not received it. My feeling is that at the end, he will stay.”

It seems that the proposal that Mourinho is seeking sits near Roma’s €40m (£35m) valuation for the 23-year-old.

A silky yet “frightening” player in the attacking third – as dubbed by Ben Jacobs – his attributes lend to Leeds’ requirement for a reliable match-winner. Although Zaniolo has not been that for the Giallorossi this season, he showed more than enough last term to suggest he could excel anywhere in Europe.

Will Leeds sign Zaniolo?





Recording eight goals and nine assists in 2021/22, signing him would add another maverick to the Whites’ squad akin to Rodrigo, who has enjoyed similar form in the current campaign.

The Spaniard boasts ten league goals this term and 12 in total, so to add Zaniolo’s 2021/22 haul to this in future would surely be enough to turn disappointing results into deserved victories for Jesse Marsch‘s team.

Such is the Italian’s immense quality that journalist Nick Mercadante took to Twitter last year to issue the following praise: “Zaniolo in form is a nightmare for Serie A, and The Answer for Italy. He’s an absolute monster.”

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With tricky feet and an eye for both a pass and a goal, he resembles Rodrigo through both their shared quality and goal threat.

The Roma forward ranks in the top 5% for total shots per 90 when compared with other attacking midfielders in Europe’s five main leagues over the past year, and his penchant for creating chances further complements the qualities that he shares with the Leeds forward.

Rodrigo has managed 2.9 shots per game this season at a 19% conversion rate, which is an impressive return.

With Marsch having been so reliant on the former Valencia man, it would not only be a welcome addition for instant success but also offer Leeds a fine alternative should the 31-year-old start to slow down in terms of goal output.