While we've covered and dissected nearly every multi-million dollar move this silly season, speculative or otherwise, none have yet come to fruition. Michy Batshuayi remains in Marseille, Mehdi Benatia in Munich, while Roma has, thus far, managed to keep Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan. What we do know about Roma's transfer campaign, however, is awfully familiar; signing experienced veterans on the cheap. In years past, Roma gambled and won (to an extent) on Seydou Keita, Maicon and several others, while striking out spectacularly on A$hley Cole.
You win some, you lose some, but this is a route virtually all non-petrol teams take nowadays. The latest name on that list appears to be right back Gregory Van der Wiel, PSGs 28-year-old right back. The Netherlands international, who made the move to Paris from Ajax in 2012, suddenly finds himself without a contract, a familiar position for players of his ilk on clubs like PSG; he's certainly talented, but when you can throw twenty to thirty million at every position, guys like Van der Wiel tend to be marginalized.
So, will PSGs loss be Roma's gain?
Van der Wiel played sparingly this past season for the Ligue 1 champions, garnering only 23 appearances (roughly 1,600 minutes) in all competitions this year. However, when VdW did play, he played quite well. In 17 league appearances, VdW scored two goals and contributed three assists while completing nearly 90% of his passes in league play. Defensively speaking, Van der Wiel averaged an impressive 2.4 tackles and three interceptions per match, while winning 57% of his aerial duels.
Van der Wiel may not have fulfilled the enormous potential he showed earlier in his career, but he is a solid player on both ends, and at 28-years-old, he figures to have several years of peak production left. Just where Van der Wiel fits in with Roma remains to be seen, particularly if they remain interested in Martin Caceres, but on the surface, one would imagine he'd replicate his role with PSG, this time serving as Alessandro Florenzi's understudy while picking up between 1,500 and 2,000 minutes across all competitions.
That is, unless, Luciano Spalletti has other designs for Florenzi. If Ale gets pushed further up the pitch or serves as some sort of super-utility player, one would hope Roma could snag a better starting right back than Van der Wiel, but as a backup or rotation player, I love this move.