Real Madrid are reportedly interested in roping in AS Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo to bolster their offensive department amid uncertainties surrounding Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio's futures.
Zaniolo, 23, has established himself as a crucial squad member for the Giallorossi since arriving from Inter Milan for a fee of £4 million in the summer of 2018. In his debut campaign, he bagged the Serie A Best Young Player award for his mature performances in a creative role.
A left-footed technical operator renowned for his flair and passing, the 11-cap Italy international was afflicted with two back-to-back anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the next two seasons. However, he marked his return to action in style by helping his side lift the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League crown during the 2021-22 term.
According to Defensa Central, Real Madrid have set their sights on Zaniolo as a potential replacement for Hazard and Asensio. Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti is a keen admirer of the Italian and has asked club president Florentino Perez to dip into the market for him.
However, the La Liga giants are likely to face competition from Newcastle United in the coming summer for Zaniolo's signature. With the star set to enter the final year of his contract at the Stadio Olimpico in June this year, more clubs are expected to join the transfer race.
Zaniolo, who is renowned for his versatility across the frontline, has registered 24 goals and 18 assists in 127 overall matches for Roma.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are said to be in the hunt for a forward in the near future. While Hazard has failed to replicate his Chelsea form at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining in 2019, Asensio is likely to secure a free transfer after the ongoing 2022-23 season.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti makes surprising claim about Eden Hazard
Speaking to Real Madrid TV, club boss Carlo Ancelotti recently shed light on Eden Hazard's fitness. He asserted that the former Lille man is in his plans for the rest of the ongoing campaign.
"He's doing really well. He's trained well and is in better shape than before the start of the World Cup. With all the games we've got, we have to make use of the whole squad. He's one of the players who is going to feature the most for us in the second half of the competition."
Despite lifting six trophies in the famous white colors, Hazard has been an underwhelming signing for the La Liga giants. Overall, he has netted just seven times and contributed 11 assists in 73 matches for them.