Roma’s desperate and eternal search for fullbacks has taken on a life of its own in recent years, to the point where listing all their failures is an exercise in futility. From Federico Balzaretti to Maicon to Ashley Cole, Roma has time and again opted for the quick fix rather than truly addressing the source of the problem; developing their own fullbacks.
There is, of course, a third alternative; paying the price for an his prime fullback. While this seems like a simple solution, the biggest hurdle has always been finances; can Roma or would Roma throw down anywhere from €15 million to €25 million for a top full back?
While that may not seem like an exorbitant amount, given all their other financial obligations and/or sunk costs, it makes purchasing a fullback a rather harrowing ordeal and leads the club into taking on retreads or converting attacking players into makeshift fullbacks.
But we all know Roma’s financial limitations, but their pursuit of Torino’s €15 million rated rightback Bruno Peres has shed like on a new, paradigm shifting problem. Where Roma once only had to worry about the PSGs and Juventus’ of the world for Peres signature, it now appears that Roma are on level pegging with mediocre to poor Premiership sides.
While the marriage between Peres, Roma and Spalletti seems almost too good to be true, Watford have reportedly submitted a €15 million bid for Peres, which may or may not have leapfrogged Roma’s bid, which may or may not even exist.
However, if this is true, this a total game changer. Roma were never meant to compete with the true financial titans of the footballing world, but in this new reality, the one where the 25th Premiership percentile can outbid Roma on the open market, the Giallorossi are even further behind the eight ball in their quest for global domination.
While the lower tier British clubs have yet to consistently go toe-to-toe with larger continental clubs, Watford’s pursuit of Peres, and Crystal Palace’s brief dalliance with Michy Batshuayi suggest a tilting of the scales is in the works, one in which the sort of big but not really small continental sides now have to sell players on the merits of playing and living in some of the world’s oldest and finest cities rather than a dreary, non-descript English town.
The effects of this are obvious, Roma, and clubs of their ilk, will have to massively overpay for rotation players, further impinging their ability to land the truly big fish, all of which makes their academies and general talent development infinitely more important.
While I wouldn’t necessarily call Peres a litmus test, his next port of call could portend a bleak future for Serie A’s non-Juve teams.