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Roma Making Progress on Defrel Transfer?

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Remember that €18 price tag? Yeah, it’s gone up...

US Sassuolo v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

By now I’m sure you’re all aware of Roma’s unusual inactivity during the winter transfer window. While never huge market movers this time of year, Roma has made the occasional splash over the years, bringing in names like Luca Toni and Stephan El Shaarawy, each of whom helped propel Roma to successful springs. This year, however, there has been no activity whatsoever. None. Zilch. Nada. That was until the Gregoire Defrel rumors started gaining traction over the past couple of weeks.

Earlier this week we discussed the basics of a Defrel-to-Roma move, one that, in my eyes, was unnecessarily expensive and redundant given the current shape of Luciano Spalletti’s roster. Despite those cries, and the absurd €25 million asking price, this rumor has shown no signs of abating.

The latest twist in this rumor speaks to exactly that, the grossly inflated price tag. For much of the past two weeks, it was widely believed that Sassuolo were seeking €18 million for Defrel and, well, it seems as though that figure was short of the mark. According to the usual suspects—Football Italia and the Gazzetta dello Sport—the Neroverdi are holding firm to a €25 million asking price.

You know where this is going. In grand Roma fashion, the Giallorossi are leveraging their youth/mortgaging their future (depending on one’s view) to knock a few million off that price, reportedly offering central-defender Riccardo Marchizza and left-back Luca Pellegrini as make weights in an extended loan with an option to buy deal. Under this scheme, Defrel would move to Roma on an 18-month-loan, whereupon Roma would have a €15 million option to buy, while presumably (or hopefully) holding buy back options on Marchizza and Pellegrini.

In essence, they’re saying “Hey, let us have Defrel for a bit, and since we like you, you can have a lend of these two kids, but if they’re good, we want them back, but if they suck...well, that’s on you.”

While this is probably a standard negotiating tactic, you just have to love this club’s lowballing mentality, don’t you? Don’t get chintzy, offer the 15 mil, hold firm and walk away. Defrel isn’t that much of a difference maker, not at this price point.

It may sound contradictory, but I do think he’d be a good addition to the squad, but the financial fit just doesn’t seem to be there, especially not when you consider the club’s other in-house options.