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Nicolo Zaniolo throws long-term Galatasaray future into doubt

Italian forward Nicolo Zaniolo is uncertain about his long-term future with Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig.

Despite generating interest from a host of elite Serie A clubs and several top-notch foreign sides, the 23-year-old pledged to a four-and-a-half-year contract at Nef Stadium in February.

With his deal at Roma running out in the summer, Zaniolo was in a hurry to depart the Italian capital despite building a reputation as one of Jose Mourinho’s most trusted allies.

Galatasaray swooped in with a €15 million bid to convince the Giallorossi to sanction the move, tying one of Italy’s hottest prospects down to a long-term contract.

But after registering only two league appearances for the Turkish heavyweights, Zaniolo has already thrown his future in Istanbul into a corridor of doubt.

“I can’t guarantee that I will stay in Turkey for five years – I had Gala and Bournemouth as options in January,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport, as relayed by Fabrizio Romano.

“Fenerbahce wanted me too, but I gave my word to Galatasaray – the stadium here is amazing.”

Zaniolo, who came through the ranks at Inter Milan before joining Roma as a prodigious talent in 2018, was on the radar of AC Milan and Juventus before moving abroad in the winter.

Often considered a safe shelter for ‘has-beens’ due to high wages and less competitive championship, the Super Lig has served as a last resort for players entering the twilight of their careers over the past few years.

Zaniolo’s decision to leave his homeland and link up with Galatasaray at such an early age caught many people by surprise, especially considering he had calls from the Premier League.

The winger’s switch to Turkey has seen Roberto Mancini leave him out of his Italy squad for their European Championship 2024 qualifiers.

Zaniolo got his Galatasaray career off to a flyer, scoring a winning goal over Kasimpasa on his competitive debut.

However, he may need to return to Europe’s top-five leagues to regain a place in the national team.

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