There aren’t many clubs in Italy, or Europe for that matter, that can go toe-to-toe with Roma’s starting midfield. While none of them are creative in the strictest sense, the combination of Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan gives Roma one of the most versatile and hard hitting midfields on the continent. With Strootman returning to full health, De Rossi seemingly being revitalized, and Nainggolan’s ever-increasing skill set, midfield is a source of pride and strength for the Giallorossi.
However, that strength is resting on a precipice about as thick as pudding skin. Behind that trio rest a promising but injured Leandro Paredes and a promising but extremely young Gerson. While both young men have shown flashes this season—Paredes intermittently throughout the year and Gerson in the Europa League—the club was always going to need to bring in some midfield depth.
Throughout the season we’ve been party to the ocassional Riccardo Saponara or Jorginho rumor, but it appears as that Tomas Rincon, he of the Genoa Cricket and Football Club, will be the newest addition the Giallorossi, coming to the club on what has been described as “an expensive loan”, believed to be in the neighborhood of €8 million, which is rumored to have an appearance-based buyout clause.
So, what exactly are Roma getting for their hard earned Euros?
Rincon, a 28-year-old Venezuelan has made 16 appearances (all comps) for Genoa thus far, chipping in two assists while averaging two tackles and one-and-a-half interceptions per match. Despite his background (Venezuela is more known for churning out pitchers than midfielders), Rincon is no stranger to European football, having spent the past eight seasons learning his craft in Germany and Italy, where he debuted for Genoa last season, scoring three goals and contributing six assists.
While Rincon’s counting statistics won’t bowl you over, he’s a remarkably versatile player, capable of playing all over the midfield in a variety of roles (holding, defending and, in a pinch, attacking and even on the wing) as well as the ocassional spot appearance at fullback. In a word, he’s the new William Vainqueur. Really, beyond his lack of sizzle, the biggest drawback to Rincon is his penchant for fouls—his 2.6 fouls committed per match would be the highest on his new club.
Rincon is the first strike in what should be an active winter market for Roma. Besides adding some depth in the holding and defensive roles, the club really needs an attacking presence off the bench, as well as some depth at fullback.
Either way, this is a solid addition and should go a long way towards getting Strootman, Nainggolan and De Rossi some much needed rest down the stretch.