Man Utd ‘watching Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo’ but Jose Mourinho will have final word on move

Rangnick believes full pre-season will help ten Hag at Man Utd

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Manchester United are reportedly ‘monitoring’ AS Roma attacker Nicolo Zaniolo ahead of the impending rebuild under Erik ten Hag. However, former manager Jose Mourinho could thwart the Red Devils’ hopes of securing his services after his explosive exit in 2018.

According to Calciomercato, a couple of Premier League clubs could send scouts to watch Zaniolo as Roma visit Leicester City in the Europa Conference League semi-finals on Thursday. And United have joined the chase for his signature in Ten Hag’s first transfer window at the helm.

The report claims United are monitoring the 22-year-old attacking midfielder, also capable of playing as a winger, for a ‘new and young’ side at Old Trafford. However, Roma’s asking price hasn’t been specified, and, with his contract running until 2024, Mourinho will have the final say in any outcome.

Juventus have been touted as the suitors in pole position, but their Serie A rivals are unwilling to offload Zaniolo for less than £46.5million (€55m). Regardless, United could strengthen their options in his position this summer amid uncertainty around numerous first-team stars.

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This season, the Red Devils have struggled for attacking numbers, with Edinson Cavani plagued by injuries, Marcus Rashford void of confidence, and Mason Greenwood suspended in the opening months. Anthony Elanga’s emergence from the youth ranks has helped, but there is a desire for established quality on the right flank.

Ten Hag is expected to prioritise a new centre-back, defensive midfielder and striker in the summer transfer window, with Paul Pogba’s imminent departure potentially also prompting a move for a replacement. But United’s expenditure could leak into the winger market if the club are at risk of falling short in that department.

After his arrival last summer, many expected Jadon Sancho to solve the club’s long-standing right-wing problem. But the young winger has showcased his best form on the left this season, regularly forcing Rashford to play on the right side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick’s attack.

Ten Hag’s appointment has unsurprisingly sparked links with Ajax winger Antony amid speculation that he could complete a big move later this year. But Zaniolo would undoubtedly be another welcome addition if United’s interest is concrete and Mourinho doesn’t make an effort to stifle his former club’s transfer business.

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