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Šime Vrsaljko: Roma's Other Option at Right Back

Roma may not get its number one target at right back in Bruno Peres, but secondary target Šime Vrsaljko could be more than serviceable as Roma's next right back.

Sassuolo's Sime Vrsaljko fights for the ball with Roma's Juan Manuel Iturbe.
Sassuolo's Sime Vrsaljko fights for the ball with Roma's Juan Manuel Iturbe.
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

It's no secret that Roma Director of Sport Walter Sabatini has been targeting Torino right back Bruno Peres for a while now, but Sabatini has been unable to convince Torino to soften its demand of 20 million euros for Peres. Sabatini even tried to include midfielder Carlos Carbonero in a player-plus-cash deal for Peres in order to lower Torino's asking price, but Roma's offer was still turned down. After being absolutely stonewalled by Torino for Peres, Sabatini would be better off at this point targeting another right back (or telling manager Rudi Garcia to shift Alessandro Florenzi to right back). Roma's other option at right back in the transfer market besides Peres is Sassuolo's Šime Vrsaljko. If Roma is really intent on offering over 15 million euros for Bruno Peres, then the club might as well just splash a similar amount for Vrsaljko instead.

Bruno Peres just completed a great first season in Serie A, but does that mean Peres warrants such a high price tag? He's a 25 year old right back from Brazil who's valued at 5.5 million euros after one season of European football, but Torino values him at 20 million euros. In 24 appearances at right back for Torino last season, Peres scored three goals and tallied two assists while earning an average game rating of 7.24. More importantly, Peres had 1.8 tackles per game, 1.3 interceptions per game, 78% passing, and 28.7 touches per game last season.

Šime Vrsaljko had similar numbers to Peres last season, which happened to be Vrsaljko's second season in Serie A. In 16 appearances at right back for Sassuolo, Vrsaljko tallied three assists and had an average game rating of 6.86. He had 1.2 tackles per game, 1.5 interceptions per game, 77% passing, and 27.3 touches per game last season. Bruno Peres might complete more dribbles per game, but Peres is also dispossessed more times per game than Vrsaljko, and both still have similar offensive output. The only red flag with Vrsaljko is his high rate of fouls per game (attributed to a lack of discipline), but he more than makes up for it with his 4.7 clearances per game.

Still only 23, Vrsaljko is valued at 7.5 million euros following his strong first couple of seasons in Serie A. Vrsaljko is younger than Peres and is already showing that he has the potential to be a solid right back offensively and defensively. IF he can gain more discipline and lower his number of fouls per game, he'll have all the tools to be the complete package at right back, now and in the future. Sassuolo's 15 million euro asking price for Vrsaljko was deemed 'too high' by Napoli recently, but that's exactly what Roma was intending to spend on Peres, so it looks like the shoe could fit for Roma, should the club decide to make an offer. Up to this point, there's only been unconfirmed reports of Roma's interest in Vrsaljko though.

I don't condone judging players based on highlight videos, but here's a video of Vrsaljko going head-to-head against Neymar and Brazil at the last World Cup. And here's a video of his career highlights essentially.