It’s notoriously tricky to prophesy true success for youth prospects, unless their name happens to be Francesco, Cristiano, or Lionel. Roman prospects are no exception to this rule; many teenagers, once promoted by fans and coaches alike as the Next Great Roman Hero, fall quickly by the wayside once they hit the wrong side of twenty. Yet after a certain point, even the most skeptical fan will admit when a player shows true promise, when they would add more to a title-contending squad than they could detract. Lorenzo Pellegrini is not only having the type of season that proves he could add something to Roma’s squad. Pellegrini is having the type of season (and, all honesty, the type of career) that makes those oft-dismissed predictions of future greatness seem closer and closer to reality every day.
Pellegrini has been covered by Chiesa di Totti in the past, just squeaking into the U-23 Top Ten Countdown in 2015. Unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival by bren (and therefore, by all Romanisti) in the lead-up to the 2016 edition, though I doubt that our esteemed Editor-in-Chief will mind that the Roman is proving himself to be quite the prospect. You could best sum up Pellegrini’s role at Sassuolo as playmaker: he plays in the midfield, using his vision and technical ability to feed the Neroverdi’s attacking trio (albeit currently without the services of Domenico Berardi). Quite like everybody’s favorite Belgian warrior, Pellegrini has also taken a liking to long shots - my only hope is that he can either become more accurate or stick to playmaking if he returns to Rome.
When you take Pellegrini’s good start to the season with Sassuolo and combine it with his extremely good history with Roma’s primavera side (including quite the golazo versus Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League), it makes perfect sense that Roma would be excited to bring back the midfielder, even with a reported €7m buyback clause. Pellegrini’s agent, Giampiero Pocetta, recently spoke to the press regarding his client’s situation, claiming that there is a “gentleman’s agreement” in place for Lorenzo to return to Rome at the end of the season. Although this could be just another instance of agent double-speak, it would be quite exciting to have another midfield youth prospect plying his wares at the Olimpico.
Watch this space. Pellegrini may be the Next Great Roman Hero - for real.