By George Overhill

29th Sep, 2023 | 8:10am

Nicolo Zaniolo delights BBC pundit at Aston Villa with more to come amid Juventus transfer links

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…

Alan Hutton is already convinced by what he has seen of Nicolo Zaniolo at Aston Villa and believes the Italian “ticks all the boxes” to be a real asset.

The Italian arrived on a season-long loan move from Galatasaray last month and has seen his minutes increase with each appearance in the Premier League under Unai Emery, but he continues to be linked with Juventus who are tipped to be a threat to him staying at Villa Park past next summer [Calciomercato, 24 September].

BBC pundit Hutton is impressed with the 24-year-old’s early showing at Villa and would like to see him stay for some time, with plenty more yet to come.

“I like what I’ve seen so far, and I’m still going to give him time,” the former Scotland defender exclusively told Villa News.

“He’s not been in the club that long and I think he’s definitely shown signs that he’s more than capable. Really good touch, he can see a pass, he can dribble by players.

“He’s big and physical and strong, so he ticks all the boxes for me. 

“Give him time. He’s still getting use to the way the team wants to play, the manager, the formations, his teammates. When that happens I think you’ll see the real him.

“I’ve seen enough at this moment to know that he’s a good player.”

As a nominal replacement for Philippe Coutinho, after the Brazilian star’s Aston Villa career fizzled out following a much-heralded arrival, Zaniolo already looks like he could be an upgrade.

Assuming he does enough over the remainder of the season to convince Emery he needs to keep him in England it could be a fight in the transfer window at the end of the season.

But the board have regularly backed the manager in the makret with ambitious signings so even if Juventus do make a run at him there is nothing to say they are certain to come out on top, despite the midfielder admitting the Old Lady is his “dream” [Gazzetta dello Sport, 28 June] earlier this summer.

In other Aston Villa news, an “absolutely outstanding” Villa star could cause the club a “real problem” they hope to avoid.