For those of you holding out hope for Roma and PSG to broker a deal for Lucas Digne, prepare to have those hopes dashed. While there was word of a €12 million agreement between Walter Sabatini and the Parisians, it seems as though Roma grew tired of whittling down PSG and have chosen a different direction for left back next season, Empoli's 25-year-old Portuguese left back Mario Rui.
Rui just completed his second season with Empoli, during which he featured in 36 league matches, registering two assists, six yellow cards and zero goals. For this decidedly underwhelming performance, Roma has seen fit to pay €9 million (three up front, six on the back), while handing him a five-year deal in the process.
The most immediate and logical step here is to compare Rui to the man he is ostensibly replacing, Lucas Digne, so let's make an abbreviated comparison. Rui played 3,240 minutes compared to Digne's 2,857, so we'll use per 90 minute figures as our basis for comparison, and guess what? Rui looks pretty good, besting the Frenchman in a number of categories, including key passes, duels won, successful dribble percentage, shots and passing percentage.
Despite all that, you can't help but shake the feeling that this is a step backwards. While Digne was far from a perfect fullback, he holds that ever allusive promise, that everything he flashed this season was only the beginning, and while there remains an outside shot he's still brought back, it appears as though Rui is Roma's solution in the here and now.
Rui could very well pull a Diego Perotti and blossom among Roma's superior cast, but for now, this is a decidedly mediocre move.