By George Overhill

21st Jan, 2023 | 9:10am

West Ham United and Leicester left standing in Nicolo Zaniolo race after Roma scoff at Tottenham loan hopes

West Ham are still in the picture for Nicolo Zaniolo after Tottenham’s loan-to-buy offer was dismissed by Roma, according to la Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spurs are the player’s preferred destination having fallen out of favour at the Stadio Olimpico but Jose Mourinho’s side will only countenance a permanent transfer, and one that is booked prior to 30 June.

Tottenham’s Fabio Paratici has held talks but his offer of a loan with an option to buy for £17.5million plus bonuses at the end of the season has been rejected on multiple grounds because Roma are not prepared to give discounts for a player who has asked to leave.

According to Gazzetta, the extensive interest in the 23-year-old Italian international is falling away, with Borussia Dortmund said to have “cooled” on him.

So, with Tottenham “not even remotely close” to offering what is required that has reportedly left the Hammers and Leicester as the final clubs standing in the race.

The primary issue in the case of both is the fact that they are in a relegation battle, with Zaniolo having no interest of playing in the Championship, but the field has thinned significantly for West Ham.

Back on?

It seemed like Tottenham or bust for the Roma man, and it could still be so, but if Spurs aren’t even in the same ball park as the Serie A side that looks like being a dead end.

Clearly West Ham are going to have to pay a fair amount, reportedly around £35million [Sky Sports, 20 January], but the board are obviouly prepared to spend this month to try to rescue a miserable season.

Danny Ings has already been signed in attack despite a major move for Gianluca Scamacca in the summer, and the club are in the market for another forward still [Dharmesh Sheth, 19 January].

The club-record deal to sign Lucas Paqueta last year would seemingly wipe out the chances of going for Zaniolo now, but the moves at the striker position suggest it is not so clear cut.

The Irons would have to convince him that the club will turn things around once he was involved and the threat of relegation would subside, but the door looks to be open for a player who had a far higher asking price just six months ago.

Sometimes the chance to pick up a significant talent can’t be passed up, and the opportunity is there to land this one currently.