What a perfect segue... from one of our most beloved left-backs (JAR) to one of our most abhorred: Juan Jesus. RRuan Jesus. Call him whatever, but the dude is simply not a left-back. Hell, he might not even be a center-back. Despite one of his
best mediocre performances in Roma colors against Bologna, JJ’s brief tenure for the Giallorossi has been dismal to say the least.
One does not have to look too far back to witness the lad’s poor displays. Just revisit the win against Astr...uh...ven ... whatever. A poor clearance and then a lack of speed led to the first, albeit sloppy, goal, and while the second goal wasn’t entirely his fault, it can’t be overlooked that the cross came from the left. While one game doesn’t define a player, multiple games do, and Mr. Jesus hasn’t shown any promising signs of being a reliable defensive player. Moreover, his offensive contributions are few and ineffective.
The JJ problem is as clear as Visine: confidence. With the ball at his feet, defending one on one, aerial duels, going forward… damn, is there anything this guy can do proficiently besides foul and perpetually look tired? He always appears shaky and unsure. Can he cross? Can he score? Can he intimidate attackers? Even his teammates at times look as though they are reluctant to pass it his way. How many times has Manolas glanced his way and thought, hmmm... maybe I shouldn’t pass it into a black hole?
Spalletti must be counting the days until January. I mean, let’s face it, Thomas Vermaelen is nothing but a Where’s Waldo prop at the moment ( a crutch perhaps?), Emerson’s defensive culpability hasn’t earned him a starting role, Seck who the heck? and Mario Rui is only returning from his sabbatical on the Black Pearl. Left-back has to be a priority in the winter Mercado. Right? Left? Not quite, because when is anything simple in the capital. Would it really surprise anyone if we didn’t sign a real left-back in January? Perhaps the pressing question is why is left-back such a difficult position to fill?
Time will tell if Mr. Jesus gets the opportunity to find himself. With Rudiger showing superhuman healing (4 months… really?), with Peres back to full health, and Mario Rui playing with the Primavera, it’s about time Spalletti open his eyes and realize the gaping void that is Juan Jesus. RRaun simply cannot be a starter for a team competing for the Scudetto. Luciano must have better options come January if he wants to compete in all three competitions. In the meantime, here are some totally realistic free-agents that could compete against JJ for a starting role (see poll):
images via WhoScored