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Aston Villa loanee Nicolo Zaniolo eager to return to Serie A next season

Aston Villa loanee eager to return to Serie A next season
© Reuters
Galatasaray winger Nicolo Zaniolo - currently on loan at Aston Villa - says that he is eager to return to Serie A next season.

Aston Villa loanee Nicolo Zaniolo has revealed that he is keen to return to Serie A next season.

In February 2023, parent club Galatasaray agreed to pay Roma a fee of €15m in order to secure the signature of the winger on a long-term contract.

At the time, the move was viewed as a necessity for Zaniolo as he bid to find regular first-team football for the second half of that particular campaign.

Zaniolo chipped in with five goals from 10 league appearances to help Galatasaray get their hands on the Super Lig trophy and secure a return to the Champions League group stages.

However, as a result of an injury to Emiliano Buendia, Villa successfully negotiated a loan deal for the Italy international for the current season.

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery before the match on March 2, 2024© Reuters

The move has only had limited success for all concerned, with Zaniolo being limited to just seven starts all season, each of which have been made in the Premier League.

As many as 18 substitute appearances can be added to that tally, but Zaniolo has scored just three goals and failed to provide a single assist in 1012 minutes of football.

Speaking in an interview with Corriere dello Sport, Zaniolo says that he has already decided that he wants to return to his homeland later this year.

"I miss Italy a lot, my family, my friends, my son. Now, however, it's up to the clubs to define my future, I belong to Galatasaray," he said.

"In the meantime, I want to express my gratitude for Monchi (Aston Villa's sporting director), who has once again bet on about me after taking me to Roma when I was 19."

Nicolo Zaniolo in action with Zrinjski Mostar's Antonio Ivancic on October 5, 2023© Reuters

As a result of Zaniolo playing so little during his stint in the West Midlands, Villa will not be obligated to push through a permanent transfer.

That is something that will suit all parties, with Villa allegedly in a position where they have work to do with regards to the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules if they wish to sign more players ahead of 2024-25.

Roma are said to be keeping a watchful eye on any developments courtesy of the sell-on fee that they are due if Zaniolo is sold for at least €16.5m (£14.2m).

The report claims that AC Milan are financially best positioned to sign the versatile playmaker and may be interested in adding further strength-in-depth, and Zaniolo hinted in the interview that he would be open to signing for Milan.

Juventus are allegedly a preferred option due to being a childhood fan, yet it is claimed that the club itself are not actively looking to sign Zaniolo.

Zaniolo further added in the interview that he would never sign for Lazio out of respect for Roma.

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Italy's Nicolo Zaniolo gets a drink during the warm up before the match in November 2022
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