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Manchester United eye move for Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo

Manchester United have been linked with a summer swoop for AS Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo.

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That’s according to a report from Calciomercato, who claimed that the Red Devils are “monitoring” a move for the 22-year-old, with Ralf Rangnick looking to build a “new and young” squad.

With the German set to move into a consultancy role at Old Trafford, he will work with Erik ten Hag, who has reportedly reiterated that he would not have taken on the manager’s job if he had not been “granted control over transfers”, as per ESPN.

How many players should United sell?

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Zaniolo in, £215k-p/w duo out?

If United are able to prise Zaniolo, away from the Stadio Olimpico, it could spell the end for the £215k-p/w (as per Salary Sport) duo of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard, who both play in the same position as the 22-year-old.

In fairness, the 34-year-old Spaniard is already nearing the conclusion of his Old Trafford career, having appeared just nine times for United this season (seven of those as a substitute), with his contract expiring in the summer. The prospective signing of Zaniolo would almost certainly be the end for Mata, who would fall even further down the pecking order.

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Lingard, who has made 22 appearances in all competitions in the current campaign but started just twice in the league, would probably also see his game-time suffer.

The £29.7m-rated Zaniolo has made 19 appearances as a right winger and 15 as a second striker in all competitions this term. He has performed best in the latter position, bagging ten attacking returns in 15 appearances as a second striker for Roma.

Having achieved 15 attacking returns in the form of seven goals and eight assists across 37 appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side, the 22-year-old would be a welcome gift for Ten Hag, with his function as a left-footed inverted right-winger suiting the Dutchman to a tee.

Zaniolo, who has been described as “explosive” by Italian legend Francesco Totti, would offer the new United boss options in both a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 system, with him able to play through the centre or out on the wing in either setup.

One thing seems certain, though – if United can prise the 22-year-old from the clutches of Mourinho, it will surely spell the end for both Lingard and Mata at Old Trafford.

In other news: Ten Hag could unearth new Berbatov for MUFC by signing 152-goal “hero”

Article title: Manchester United eye move for Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo

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