When rumors of Monchi’s hiring began to trickle in, many commentators were worried that the Spaniard would continue Roma’s disappointing trend of ignoring it’s successful Primavera squad, with some believing that he would ignore Italian youth even more than his predecessor. It’s not hard to see why; Mr. Verdejo’s time as Director of Sport at Sevilla was highlighted by many of the Moneyball-style transfers for South American talent that were Walter Sabatini’s bread and butter. Yet it appears that those fears may have been premature, at least with regards to one of the Primavera’s brightest prospects.
Transfer guru and wizard of calcio Gianluca Di Marzio is reporting that Marco Tumminello will soon sign a five-year renewal with the Giallorossi, despite interest from Everton, Liverpool, Watford and a host of other clubs. Tumminello has had quite the career for Roma’s youth teams; this year alone the eighteen-year-old has scored 28 goals in 27 matches across all competitions. Other reports further state that key players from the current Primavera squad will also be handed renewals in the near future, including center-back Riccardo Marchizza, midfielder Alessandro Bordin, and striker Edoardo Soleri.
This rumored extension could also be giving us a look at Roma’s position on the continued employment of Luciano Spalletti. Spalletti isn’t exactly known for playing youth or rotating, so handing out a five-year extension to an eighteen-year-old doesn’t exactly jibe with how Spalletti plays his game. When taken with Spalletti’s poor tactical performances against Lazio and in European competition, this is just one more sign that Spalletti may not be wearing a Roma tracksuit come the fall. I have no clue who may be coming in to fill Spalletti’s job, but with extensions like this, signs point to a manager more focused on youth development (Eusebio Di Francesco, anyone?).
What does this mean for Roma long-term? It’s certainly not a guarantee that Tumminello (or any of the other prospects playing for Alberto De Rossi) will ever become even a backup for the senior squad. However, it shows that Roma’s new Director of Sport isn’t interested in wasting a Primavera squad that won the Primavera versions of the Supercoppa Italiana, the Scudetto, and the Coppa Italia over the past year. With a lengthy contract for Tumminello, it looks like we may begin to see him in and around the first team in the near future. This would also make a summer move for another intriguing striker prospect along the lines of Giovanni Simeone, Patrik Schick or Kasper Dolberg seem less likely. Why extend the in-house option for Striker of the Future and then immediately siphon off any potential minutes for that player by buying another exciting young striker? Simply put, for those who want to Make Roma Italian Again, this is a positive first sign for the Monchi Era.
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