By Liam Thomas

20th Jan, 2023 | 8:15pm

Leeds United like Nico Zaniolo as transfer news drops on Friday

Leeds United are admirers of AS Roma midfielder Nico Zaniolo and the maestro could be available on a risk-reward loan-to-buy deal, according to CBS journalist Ben Jacobs.

Jacobs admitted that the Italian’s value had dropped to somewhere between £30-35m, something that isn’t financially out of reach for Leeds United.

The journalist, however, did confess that Tottenham are more seriously at the table right now for Zaniolo with Antonio Conte being a huge fan of the midfielder.

“Not necessarily financially (on him being out of Leeds’ reach), his valuation has dropped somewhere between £30-35m, which might seem like a large outlay, but he’s a risk-reward type signing, huge amount of potential,” said Jacobs on the JUSTJOE Football Show podcast on YouTube. (19 January)

“Then there is a feeling at the Roma end that they might be open to a loan or an obligation to buy, which allows you to bring somebody in and then deal with the situation based upon how he fares in the Premier League.

“Spurs are the ones who are more serious at the table and the reason for that is because Antonio Conte has looked at Zaniola for quite some time.

“Leeds like the player, it remains to be seen if they would meet the £35m valuation and the problem when you go up against Tottenham is he’s looking at one team that might be going down and the other that might be playing Champions League football.”

Unlikely.

It’s unlikely that Leeds United will make any more moves in the January transfer window after already completing two deals for top talents, but you can never say no in the transfer market.

Maybe the club are indeed hedging their bets on a few last-minute moves and if one was to be made, it would almost definitely be for a midfielder.

Zaniolo fits the mould for the kind of talent who could fill the gap left by the departing Mateusz Klich and a loan-to-buy deal would be the perfect scenario for the Whites.

He’s extremely talented and would add depth to the Whites engine room that hasn’t been seen for quite some time, he’d even be pushing for a starting position.

Lecce midfielder Morten Hjulmand and Angers midfielder Azzedine Ouanhi were also mentioned by Jacobs as being potential midfield targets of the Whites.

Zaniolo trumps these two in terms of potential, in my humble opinion and would be the midfielder to make a move for if the club were considering any late moves.

In other Leeds United news, visit our live transfer blog for around-the-clock updates straight from Elland Road.