Midfield, once a source of pride and inspiration for Roma, has suddenly become a sore point, not due to a sudden drop in quality but rather a lack of realistic depth. While Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman remain one of the best trios in the league, fatigue is suddenly a factor, as the heavy legs of winter have seemingly arrived early, while the youthful legs of Gerson and Leandro Paredes remain untested and unsure, leading many to speculate Roma will add a midfielder (or two) this winter.
The most recent name added to that list is Napoli’s 24-year-old defensive stalwart Jorginho, who has recently fallen behind Amadou Diawara in Maurizio Sarri’s pecking order. Diawara, who was connected to Roma over the summer, has gone the full 90 in Napoli’s last two league matchings, perhaps signaling a changing of the guard in Napoli’s midfield.
Despite his seeming demotion, Jorginho has still logged over 900 minutes in all competitions this season, completing nearly 75 passes per match while completing just a shade under 90% of those passes. Solid numbers, but a far cry from the 102 passes and 91% completion he averaged last year; he also chipped in four assists last term.
But, and here’s the rub, those 75 completed passes per match and 90% success rate would put him atop Roma’s midfield heap, so what would it take to get this particular Inho, and for that matter, how would he fit in with Roma’s current stock of midfielders?
Well, for starters, he won’t come cheap as Football Italia and the Corriere dello Sport report that Napoli wants at least €10 million for the young(ish) Brazilian; not an exorbitant amount by an stretch of the imagination, but still a bit pricey for a midyear addition, at least for a club with Roma’s financial concerns.
Now, onto the more pressing matter: How would he fit in? While he isn’t the creative midfielder this club so desperately needs, his ability on the ball and defensive contributions would enable him to fill in for any of De Rossi, Nainggolan or Strootman (depending on the formation). The real concern of this prospective transfer is the impact it would have on Roma’s other young midfielders, Leandro Paredes in particular.
Lovely Leo and Jorginho ostensibly play the same position, so throwing the more experienced Brazilian into the mix would cast doubt on Paredes’ role with the club, particularly if Jorginho hits the ground running. While few would argue that Jorginho has a higher ceiling than Paredes, at this critical juncture in his developmental curve, Paredes needs on the job experience, something which the addition of Jorginho may jeopardize.
On the other hand, given that Jorginho can conceivably cover for both DDR and Strootman, it’s not hard to envision a midfield trio of Paredes, Jorginho and Nainggolan being used intermittently. Furthermore, if this is a straight purchase, it would give Roma incredible depth in midfield for next season, especially if Roma qualifies for the Champions League.
As with any transfer scenario, there is a lot of gray area in this fictional move. Jorginho would be a welcomed addition, but would the benefits he brings be worth the risk of alienating Paredes?
It’s a difficult question to answer, but depth is depth, right?