According to an Italian source Calcio Mercato Web (h/t Football.London), Chelsea are ready to make a move for Nicolo Zaniolo by offering Christian Pulisic to AS Roma in a straight player-swap deal.
Blues’ London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a move for the player during this transfer window, but that has once been rejected by the Italian side. Now, Chelsea are looking to blow Spurs out of the water with this sensational player-swap deal for Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
After an underwhelming season last time around, where he scored eight goals and provided five assists in 38 appearances in all competitions, Pulisic didn’t do much in the foregone pre-season to catch the eye of the supporters and the manager.
The American international’s Chelsea career has been an up and down spiral, with moments of him showing promise and then a period of inconsistency. With the Blues signing Raheem Sterling in the summer, the competition to play in the wide attacking areas has further increased.
Zaniolo, although of the same age as Pulisic (23), has more to offer as a player in his positional game. The Italian international can play across the front-line with ease and can also be deployed as a number 10 or an attacking central midfielder.
Roma manager Mourinho exercised this versatility in the player and played him in all of the positions mentioned above. In return, Zaniolo scored the winner in the Europa Conference League final and ended up with returns of eight goals and nine assists in 42 appearances in all competitions.
Thus, it won’t be a bad idea for Chelsea to directly replace Pulisic with Zaniolo. While both players are young and very good footballers, the latter seems more appealing due to his versatility and being able to impact games even without scoring a goal or assisting.
Moreover, the possibility that we could spoil Spurs’ transfer plans in the process would come as an added bonus. Zaniolo could even be a solution for us to play down the middle, where we are struggling after Timo Werner’s departure and Romelu Lukaku’s temporary return to Inter Milan.