Nicolo Zaniolo Talk Continues Amid Rumours of Liverpool Swap Deal

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Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo | FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

Liverpool remain interested in promising Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, with the Italian giants said to be open to a potential sale - providing the Reds stump up a player in exchange.

The 20-year-old is widely regarded as one of Europe's most exciting young talents, and has become a pivotal figure in the heart of Roma's midfield since he joined from Inter two years ago.

He did, however, rupture his anterior cruciate ligament before the coronavirus pandemic curtailed football across the world, ruling him out - at the time - of the remainder of this season and Euro 2020, which has of course now been pushed back a year.

Nicolo Zaniolo has impressed since joining Roma two years ago.
Nicolo Zaniolo has impressed since joining Roma two years ago. | TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images

Speculation in May suggested the postponement of action had put Roma in a difficult position financially, potentially leading to a fire-sale of their best players - including Alessandro Florenzi, Cengiz Under and Zaniolo. Back then, he was valued by his club at an astronomical €80m.

However, Il Sussidiario now report that the Italian's price has dropped to around €53m - because there's been no on-field action and a possible takeover of Roma has gone quiet. But the report suggests that to make up for the potential price drop, I Giallorossi may look to include out-of-favour defender Dejan Lovren in any potential deal.

Roma attempted to sign Lovren last summer after Liverpool's Champions League triumph, but he stayed put after Jurgen Klopp assured him that he was still a part of his plans at Anfield. Joe Gomez's continued improvement alongside Virgil van Dijk, however, as well as Joel Matip's continued good form, has limited the Croatian's first team involvement.

Jurgen Klopp, Dejan Lovren
Jurgen Klopp wanted to keep Lovren at Liverpool last summer. | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Consequently, he's likely to seek pastures new in order to play more football - rendering comments he made in September about Klopp's promise of being an important part of the squad inconsequential.

"I wanted to leave, it didn't happen, I was told Liverpool need me and I accepted that. It was not meant to be for me to leave," Lovren had admitted.

"Last week I spoke to Klopp again, he told me he understands me, knows I am not happy, but he also said: 'Look, now the transfer window is finished, I want you to reset your head, you're important.'"

Lovren played a key role in knocking Roma out of last season's Champions League.
Lovren played a key role in knocking Roma out of last season's Champions League. | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Lovren only has one year left on his Liverpool contract, so using him as makeweight in a deal makes sense in theory - but only serves to weaken the Reds backline, whereas their midfield options are relatively strong.

With that in mind, perhaps all is not as it seems.