Did I surf my way into wormhole over the New Year’s Eve and land square in the summer of 2016? Matthew Mcconaughey behind the bookcase anyone? Or is Roma truly interested in Portuguese midfielder, João Moutinho? If you don’t recall, Moutinho was among the long list of replacements for our dearly departed (dead to me) Miralem Pjanic. Once Borja Valero fell through Sabatini’s nicotine-stained fingers, Moutinho was said to be next in line. Yet, the rumors amounted to nothing as rumors often do. However, according to reports (fallacies?), the Monaco midfielder is back on Roma’s radar with a possible loan option.
Whatever the case may be, this move would make more sense than many of the transfer rumors circulating at the moment. Do we really need more wingers? Although many contend that our midfield is full with the likes of DDR, Strootman, Nainggolan, Paredes, and Gerson, the truth is that Roma needs a creative spark that can drop deep and distribute decisive passes. Perhaps Paredes possibly perchance could partake in playing the playmaker. But, alliteration aside, the Argentine hasn’t fully shown he is capable of such a role. And Gerson, please. It is clear he is not ready to play for this team; moreover, it remains to be seen what position he actually excels at. Mid, wing, bench? No sé. Roma needs an experienced player like Moutinho in the heart of the field.
So, what can be said about the veteran midfielder? This season at Monaco he has appeared in nine matches, tallying one goal and two assists. Not too bueno. However, a successful pass percentage of 84% ain’t too shabby, although it pales in comparison to Paredes’s 89%. Maybe it is best to look at his career statistics to get a better idea of the player:
Okay, I feel like maybe I should be eating my words. Despite a couple strong seasons at Monaco, Moutinho’s numbers don’t prove him to be a world-beater. His key pass average is notable, but these stats show a player on the decline. Yet, we all know that data doesn’t define a player. João is a strong passer, excellent at keeping the ball, and he has vision, a talent that is perhaps dying in modern football. Roma has speed on the wings, a tall center forward, an engine box-to-box midfielder, a rock in the back, a washing machine, but who can be the one to deliver a silky pass? An over-the-top lob? A one-touch effort? A back heel? Well, Totti of course. But who else besides God? Perhaps we need to watch the player in action:
Now, that’s better isn’t it? Moutinho’s eye is his best asset. See how a deft touch here or there can create a chance? And those crosses. And those set pieces. Stellar. Now, let’s not fall into the fallacy of highlight videos. Remember: for every great touch there are most likely five bad ones. But, the skill is there and at thirty years old João still has much to offer.
Don’t get me wrong. Moutinho is not the best option. Hell, he may not even be within the top twenty. But he is a realistic option. He can provide this team with experience and playmaking ability in the midfield. If his wages could be lowered there is reason to believe that he could help this team immensely. There is also reason to believe that he’d rot on the bench. There is also reason to believe that journalists are running out of material and this is yet another fabrication. The January window is one of gambles as we have seen in years past. Ibarbo+D(o)umbia=fail. Perotti+SES=win. So, if this rumor is anchored in truth, we will have to wait and see what João can offer.