By Anthony Onifade

17th Oct, 2023 | 6:10pm

NSWE may cut short Nicolo Zaniolo loan transfer agreement at Aston Villa amid controversial development

Aston Villa could come to a critical decision on Nicolo Zaniolo in January after news shared recently that he has been questioned by authorities over illegal betting allegations.

The on-loan Villa Park forward alongside Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali, have both left the Italian national team’s training camp after being questioned by police on 12 October.

It’s safe to say the Italian international hasn’t particularly backed up the fan’s excitement since his move from Galatasaray in Turkey and this recent controversy may well leave his future in the West Midlands in doubt.

And according to reports in Italy, Zaniolo will meet Aston Villa directors on October 17 to explain his stance in the betting case where he’s involved in Italy though the former Roma man has claimed through his lawyers that he has never placed bets on football matches.

The 24-year-old has endured a rather difficult spell since his summer loan move, only showing flashes of his brilliance despite being handed regular starts by Unai Emery.

One of his worst came in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on 16 September where he won just four of his 12 total duels, barely touched the ball with just 37 touches to his name and 14/18 out of successful passes, completed just one of his four dribbles at a 25% success rate while also losing possession of the ball 15 times [SofaScore].

Against Brighton on 30 September, it was a similar trend barely touching the ball for his team with 20 touches, completing just three of his passes and failing to complete any of his four dribbles, won one of his 13 ground duels at a dreadful rate of 7%, lost possession of the ball eleven times and registered zero key passes also giving away four fouls [SofaScore] in a disappointing performance.

The Italian was later dropped for the 8 October showpiece against Wolves which ended in a draw but certainly pointed to his struggles so far in an Aston Villa shirt.

Given he only just signed on the dotted line at Villa Park, Zaniolo still has a lot of acclimatising to do to get to grips with life in the West Midlands.

However, after this recent controversy, it remains to be seen whether he will play again at Villa Park given it could yet turn into a criminal case should he be found guilty and it could well ultimately lead to Aston Villa owners NSWE and Emery coming to a decision with Zaniolo to end his loan agreement to avoid any scrutiny or controversial extending to the football club.

It may be an unfortunate end for the Italian at Villa Park but a necessary one.

In other Aston Villa news, an injury expert has shared an update on one key man.