While it's been great to see Roma's name in the same sentence as big money players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gonzalo Higuain this summer, it just wouldn't be Roma if they weren't scouring the globe for barely legal attacking talent. While Walter Sabatini usually keeps his creepin' confined to Argentina and other South American hotspots, in recent summers he's stretched his nicotine stained fingers across the Adriatic into the Balkan Peninsula, and even the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe, to unearth the next big thing.
The latest object of Sabatini's lust is Anderlecht's 20-year-old Serbian forward, Aleksandar Mitrovic, a 6'2" right footed striker who lit up the Jupiler League this past season. In 37 appearances this year (league and playoffs), Mitrovic banged home 20 goals. Across all competitions, Mitrovic scored 27 goals, including two in the Champions League, and contributed five assists.
The first thing you notice about Mitrovic, aside from his, umm, sensual goal celebration, is that he's a big dude, one quite adept at slipping into tight spaces and using his broad shoulders to shield defenders. With that size, positional awareness and strength, it's not hard to imagine him getting on the end of a cross from Juan Iturbe or Alessandro Florenzi, or slipping into space to latch onto the end of a through ball from Miralem Pjanic or Adem Ljajic, his would be fellow Balkan Boys.
Of course, you could also make the argument that he's merely a bigger, slower and apparently more arrogant Mattia Destro, and we all know what happens to that type of striker in Rudi Garcia's offense. And is this really what a club on the precipice of contention needs, another kid who looks good on screen and might contribute five years down the road?
Don't get me wrong, if they can squeeze him into the budget and not impact spending on the first team (his rumored cost is €16m), I'm all for it--he'd make a great addition to our current crop of prospects up top, Antonio Sanabria and Valmir Berisha--but if this is it, if this is Roma's new striker for the season, I'll take a firm pass, thanks.