Manchester United send scouts to watch Roma youngster Nicolo Zaniolo score twice for Italy

Nicolo Zaniolo

The 20-year-old put in an impressive performance by scoring twice in a 9-1 win for the Azzurri in Palermo.

According to Il Messaggero (via Football Italia) (opens in new tab), Manchester United (opens in new tab) sent representatives to cast an eye over the midfielder at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

The Red Devils have held talks with Roma (opens in new tab) about Chris Smalling, who is on loan with the Serie A club for the 2019/20 season.

Roma are understood to be keen on making the centre-back’s move to the Italian capital permanent, and negotiations could lead them to the possibility of a move for Zaniolo.

The youngster is one of the most highly-rated young players in Serie A, after bursting onto the scene last season following his summer move from Inter Milan. (opens in new tab)

He is unlikely to go cheaply, but fits the profile of young talent around which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to build his side at Old Trafford.

The Italy international has scored five goals in 16 games for the Giallorossi in all competitions this season.

He recently hit a rich vein of form, finding the net in three consecutive league games to help push Paolo Fonseca’s side into sixth place despite a crippling injury crisis.

The Giallorossi return to domestic action on Sunday with the visit of rock-bottom Brescia to the Stadio Olimpico.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.