By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

20th Aug, 2023 | 8:10pm

Dan Bardell: Aston Villa signing Nicolò Zaniolo has 'unique' abilities as terms agreed

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

New Aston Villa signing Nicolò Zaniolo is a “unique” profile of player, but the fact Galatasaray have let him go coupled with his injury history makes the move “alarming”, according to Dan Bardell.

The Italian made the switch to Villa on a loan-to-buy deal that could total £36.6million following a successful, if brief, stint in Turkey where he scored five goals in 10 league appearances.

Before this, he was a mainstay in Jose Mourinho’s Roma side and scored the winning goal in their Europa Conference League final triumph in 2021/22. However, his time in Italy unravelled following a drop in form, injury issues and growing fan aggression which resulted in Zaniolo submitting a transfer request.

Bardell claims that Zaniolo is a unique player and has the ability to perform well for Aston Villa, but a few question marks hover over the 24-year-old’s head.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “Villa have brought him in regardless of Emi Buendia getting injured, so this was all already in motion.

“Now he’s got injured, the need for him had accelerated. This is a player that’s struggled with injury over the last few years, but he’s also a player that a few years ago was a massive part of Roma winning the Europa Conference League under Jose Mourinho.

“He’s still young and he’s still got room to grow. He’s got lovely technique and he’s quite a unique player because he’s very very skillful, has a deft touch and has good movement.

“He’s six-foot-three too, you don’t see many six-foot-plus forwards, in football it’s rare. He’s a player that I’ve always had my eye on and that I’ve liked.

“Zaniolo did okay at Galatasaray from January onwards, but the fact that Galatasaray were willing to sell him is a little bit alarming and he does have a pretty checkered injury history in recent years.

“But it’s one that I’m quietly excited about because what I have seen of him I like and I quite like unique players. I’m not comparing him to Peter Crouch but as a six-foot-plus playmaker, I can’t think of anyone else who plays like that.

“It’s one that I’m very, very interested in.”

In other Aston Villa news, Bardell reveals the key issues following Villa’s loss to Newcastle.