If it seems as though we’ve spent months bemoaning Roma’s lack of playmaking midfielder, there’s a good reason—they need one! While Radja Nainggolan has done a bangup job on the whole, a creative midfielder he is not, no matter how loudly Luciano Spalletti protests. Nainggolan’s athleticism, tenacity and ball winning ability, while useful in that more advanced role, aren’t exactly what this club needs to properly support Edin Dzeko and the rest of the frontline. They need an intuitive attacking midfielder, one capable of providing a spark to their sometimes predictable offense.
While much of the speculation has centered around Empoli’s Riccardo Saponara—and for good reason, he’s young and had a whale of a season last year for Empoli—the rumor mongering has reached a new level. Football Italia, via Sky, report that Roma and Atalanta have had “informal” talks about Alejandro Gomez.
Gomez, 28, has the Goddess on the precipice of European Qualification, captaining Atalanta to 32 points through 18 matches, good for sixth place. Along the way, Papu has thrown up three goals and four assists, all while playing attacking midfielder, left winger and center forward. In addition to the goals and assists, Papu is averaging 3.2 shots per match, 2.3 key passes per match and 2.4 dribbles per match.
Of course, given what we just mentioned—his stats, his position within the club and Atalanta’s spot on the table—he won’t come cheap, as the Goddess have placed a €15 million tag on him, which one would imagine is merely a starting point in any prospective negotiations.
I have no idea why Atalanta would want to sell him—that’s not really our concern—but this is a player you should absolutely want on Roma. Not only would he give Roma the attacking midfielder/trequartista they so desperately crave, but his ability to play out wide would help Roma bridge the Mohamed Salah-AFCON/Injury gap. And sure, it might cause some rotational headaches down the road, but we’ll let Monchi cross that bridge when we come to it.
Fifteen million is an awful lot for Roma to spend mid-season, particularly with the ever present FFP regulations haunting them, but getting a player this good and at this point in his career is almost too good to be true.
Will it happen? Probably not, but adding Alejandro Gomez into the mix could make Roma true contenders—his creativity and ability on the ball could be the final piece of the puzzle.
No matter what route they go, Gomez or Saponara, it won’t be easy. Gomez is crucial to Atalanta’s Europa League ambitions while Saponara appears to finally be shaking off the dust and will be integral in Empoli’s fight for survival.
I’ll take either one, but if Roma’s 2016 winter market proved anything, adding quality players can propel you through the new year. More El Shaarawys, Perottis and Gomez’s, less Doumbias and Ibarbos. Please and thanks.