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New Liverpool chief Julian Ward plotting signing of Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo in huge blow to Jose Mourinho

Liverpool are readying an approach to sign Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo, according to reports in Italy and amid growing fears the Serie A side are expecting his exit.

The Reds are preparing for a changing of the guard this summer with long-serving sporting director Michael Edwards stepping down. He has enjoyed a decade of success on Merseyside, playing a vital role with some major dealings for Liverpool.

Indeed, Edwards is the man who secured the signings of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Alisson and Virgil van Dijk – all of whom have proven highly-successful big-money additions. He’s also the man credited with securing the sale of Philippe Coutinho for a fee which could have reached £142m.

He will be replaced at the helm by his assistant Julian Ward.

His first task in charge may well be to negotiate the departure of Naby Keita. With just a year left on his deal come the summer, he is one player who may be allowed to depart. And reports on Monday morning claims a Serie A giant are plotting a move.

In terms of potential recruits, the Reds have been linked with more forwards to strengthen their options. To that end, the likes of Paulo Dybala and Raphinha are both reportedly on their wish-list.

Ward paying close attention

However, reports in Italy claim Ward and Liverpool are also paying close attention to Zaniolo.

The 22-year-old’s current deal expires in 2024 and Roma are keen to reward him with an extension.

Hugely popular under Jose Mourinho, Roma want to nail him down to a new deal to ward off a number of admirers.

However, Calciomercato reports that talks over a new deal are currently still blocked.

Furthermore, Roma chief Tiago Pinto claims he ‘cannot guarantee’ Zaniolo will still be a Roma player next season, heightening claims he may be sold.

Their report states that the Reds, along with Juventus and Atletico Madrid are all readying summer approaches.

Zaniolo capable of playing a number of positions

The 22-year-old is comfortable in a number of positions across the attack. However, Zaniolo most frequently operates as either a winger or a second striker. Indeed, that’s a position Mourinho has often used Zaniolo in; the Italian playing…

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