Don’t look now, but we’re nearly halfway through January and while their rivals are busy stocking their arsenals with new players, Roma are sitting on their hands staring at pictures of the Stadio della Roma on the wall. With four points separating Roma and Juventus, and more importantly with Napoli and Lazio hot on their trail, Ricky Massara and the rest of the front office has yet to make a move for any reinforcements.
While West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli seemed like a solid, albeit expensive (for his role), addition to the squad, Roma’s inability to broker a loan with an option to buy deal tanked this move, as the Hammers were only interested in a straight sale, reportedly for some €10 million. With that option off the table, Roma has turned their attention to a different part of London, specifically Stamford Bridge.
Now, I want you to keep in mind that this exhaustive search has merely been a mission to find a replacement for Mohamed Salah, who will be back in, what, three weeks now? So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not jumping for joy at the latest name connected with Roma, Chelsea’s 20-year-old winger Charly Musonda, who recently returned to the club from a loan stint with Real Betis where he played a grand total of 278 minutes.
While I’m sure the kid is incredibly talented—and indeed, from this simple viewing, he appears to have some legit, ankle breaking moves—this move doesn’t pass the eye test for a number of reasons. Here we have a 20-year-old kid whose loan with Betis was cut short this season, so we’re supposed to believe he can contribute immediately in the more tactical Italian environment? And for that matter, why would Chelsea send him somewhere he won’t get consistent minutes once Salah is back? Even if we put all of that aside and assume Roma has a plan for him, this is Chelsea we’re talking about here, a club that can bully nearly anyone at the negotiating table—for these reasons and many more, this is an impractical solution to short term problem.
Now, if they want to pony up, make a full purchase and add him to the crop of young attacking talent, then by all means go for it—he does look like a potential game changer—but nothing about this move makes sense in the short run.
For their part, Chelsea have intimated, if not stated outright, that Musonda will be given a chance to prove himself, but Antonio Conte left the door open wide enough to at least speculate about Musonda’s immediate future.
We’re burning daylight in the transfer window already, and Roma has yet to come close to a concrete move, while Napoli, Juventus, and Inter have all made semi-large moves. Hell, even Pescara has loaded up in an effort to improve down the stretch.
Roma doesn’t need much, granted, but they have to do something.