Here we go! Silly season is officially open, the time when spring fantasies are designed or destroyed. In years gone by Roma fans had been delighted to pupu platters featuring players like Vasilis Torosidis, Victor Ibarbo and Seydou Doumbia; underwhelming players one and all, though Torosidis was at least a valuable rotation piece for several years. Point being, until last winter’s capture of Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti, Roma fans had grown accustomed to disappointment.
As Ned Stark so often warned, winter is coming, and in their quest to slay their own Night King, Roma are more prepared than ever to face the Old Lady beyond the wall. With the margins shrinking between these two clubs, Roma absolutely has to nail this transfer window; no speculative plays, no cagey vets, they need players capable of hitting the ground running.
The latest name on that list, PSGs under utilized but highly publicized Jese Rodriguez Ruiz, simply known as Jese, is a little bit of a mixed bag. Jese, 24-years-old next month, rose to fame on the Canary Islands, signing with Real Madrid’s youth club at the age of 14. And while he was a bit slow to start, Jese put in some impressive performances in limited minutes, grabbing 13 goals and contributing 12 assists in roughly 2,000 minutes spread across three seasons ending with the 2015-2016 La Liga season. So he has a bit of a track record of success, yet he’s not a finished product.
Jese’s ability and composure on the ball, not to mention his attacking versatility, drew the interest of PSG, who doled out €25 million for Jese’s services. But, as so often happens at the oil clubs, unless you make an immediate impact, you get buried on the bench behind more well renowned players. Such is the case with Mr. Rodriguez, who has garnered only 280 minutes with PSG this season.
This has, naturally, led to speculation that he’ll seek a new home this winter, be it on a six month loan or a more permanent basis. Enter Roma, Europe’s favorite bargain shoppers. For several weeks now, Roma was merely one of several clubs connected with Jese, their hottest competition being Liverpool, but the tide seems to be turning.
If you believe The Sun, Jese is heading Roma’s way on a €3 million loan with a €22 million option to buy. That’s a lot of cake by Roman standards, particularly for a midseason acquisition, but is he worth it?
We mentioned the age, soon to be 24, so no worries there, if this works out, Roma will get the best of Jese, assuming the sign him for five years or so, but what exactly can he do?
For that answer we turn, as always, to the YouTube compilation
As you can see, while he’s not necessarily blessed with game changing speed, he is extremely composed on the ball, particularly in tight spaces where his close control shines, and his passing seems quick, crisp and incisive; he even appears to be damn near ambidextrous. Honestly, his patience and ability to juke defenders in tight spaces is exactly what this club needs; his calm yet elusive presence on the ball would be the perfect counter to Mohamed Salah and Stephan El Shaarawy, while his ability to slot in a little deeper would enable him to play alongside Roma’s speedsters as well.
Despite that seemingly seamless fit, this is still a risk. Twenty five million, not to mention his wages, are nothing to sneeze at for a club like Roma. Furthermore, though he can ostensibly play as an attacking midfielder or second striker, he is nominally a wide forward, an area in which Roma is currently well stocked. So we’d have to view this speculative move as a potential replacement for one of El Shaarawy or even Perotti, an expensive one at that.
So, what is this? Is it merely a six month injection of talent meant to offset the temporary loss of Salah, or is this a long-term play?
At this point it's practically impossible to say, particularly as this club seldom does straight six-month dry loans, so if this were to come to fruition, it throws massive wrinkles into next season’s squad.
But he is undoubtedly a talented player, one who has scored against Roma in the Champions League, and one who apparently does quite well off it...
We’ll keep you posted, but so far, this is the most concrete transfer rumor we’ve read this winter.