Serie A legend Zbigniew Boniek has revealed that he believes rumoured Tottenham target Nicolo Zaniolo can evolve into a world-class number nine.
The speculation linking Tottenham with a move for Zaniolo has gone into hyperdrive over the last week.
CalcioMercato.it revealed last Thursday that Spurs’ opening bid of £25m plus Joe Rodon for the winger was turned down by Roma.
TuttoJuve subsequently reported that Tottenham are not willing to give up on Zaniolo, with Antonio Conte said to be ‘intent on convincing’ the club’s hierarchy to push ahead with an offer for the Italy international.
90min even suggested that Conte could look to convert the winger into a right wing-back at Tottenham, which is surprising considering that Spurs already have Djed Spence, Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal at the club, while Lucas Moura has also covered there.
Boniek believes Zaniolio possesses such a unique skillset that he can thrive in a number of positions but the former Poland international revealed that he sees the Roma star evolving into a centre-forward in Dusan Vlahovic’s mould.
The former Roma and Juventus star told New Sound Radio: “Zaniolo has incredible potential. If you ask people what his position is, then everyone will give you a different response.
“In my view, he is a classic number nine. He can protect the ball, has physical strength, turns defenders well, is good in the air and can shoot.
“I always say when I see Vlahovic play that Zaniolo could do just as well. Perhaps even better, because he also has this strong physicality. He really is a great player.”
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There have been plenty of theories being floated around regarding why Conte and Paratici want Zaniolo. Some have suggested that Conte wants to use him as a number eight while others have opined that the 23-year-old could be used as a wing-back.
However, I feel the answer could be much more straightforward than that. It seems to simply be a case of Zaniolo’s availability being too big of a market opportunity for the club to pass up on.
I am convinced that Conte will use Zaniolo as part of the front three if Spurs do win the race for the winger. That is perhaps why Conte is experimenting with Moura at wing-back during pre-season.
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