You all mocked and laughed at with me haughty derision; nose pointed in the air, belittling the fact that I would dare suggest that Roma might turn to Catania for some help. Well, here we are, nearly ten months later and my prescience has proven true. While Roma finalized their deal for Victor Ibarbo yesterday and continued to flirt with Spurs for Vlad Chiriches, it looks as though Roma has found some defensive relief in the form of Catania defender Nicolas Spolli.
Anyway, here's what we had to say about him back in April:
Catania's Argentine centerback is 31-years-old and has been with Gli Elefanti since coming over from Newell's Old Boys in 2009. In the ensuing five seasons, Spolli has made 130 appearances, averaging 1.9 tackles, 2.9 interceptions and 8.6 clearances along the way. While those are solid numbers, peel back a few layers and you'll see that Spolli's statistics have been trending slightly upwards the past two seasons, as he averaged north of two tackles and three interceptions per match.
Spolli's gross numbers won't overwhelm you, but pare them down to per 90 minute figures and Spolli begins to look like a remarkably effective player; one certainly capable of being a solid third or fourth option. In fact, Spolli's per 90 averages in interceptions, clearances, aerial duels won, and percentage of duels won actually bests both Benatia and Castan.
I don't have any detailed statistics on hand, but Spolli has made 16 appearances for the Elephants in Serie B and is presumably pretty stoked about getting back to the top flight. All told, Spolli will cost Roma about €3m; half now, half in the summer.
As far as current and future implications are concerned, this move pretty much scuppers any potential deal for Chiriches, and may cast doubt on Davide Astori's future in Rome.
We shall see, of course, but Spolli is a solid and sizeable addition (6'4" nearly 190lbs) to Roma's backline.