Whether it’s due to all the managerial changes, the unfulfilled promises or simply the passage of time, this new iteration of AS Roma seems like it’s been around for decades, but only six years have passed since Thomas DiBenedetto swept into town, ushering in a new and sometimes controversial era. And it is precisely because of those constant changes that those six years have been divided into mini-epochs. Whether it was the Enrique Experiment or the separate nostalgia tours of Zeman and later Spalletti, the pace with which these changes have occurred has sort of altered our perception of time, with each mini-era simultaneously defining and blurring boundaries.
Given all the names that have come and gone over the past several seasons, particularly in defense, Leandro Castan’s place in recent club lore is sort of hazy. On the one hand, it seems like it was only a couple of years ago he was marshalling Rudi Garcia’s defense, but do you realize/remember that Castan has been here since the WIND days, back when Roma wore Kappa?
While the exact origin of Castan’s Roma career has gotten lost in the shuffle, it’s not quite as easy to forget how solid he was at the back, teaming up with Marquinhos in 2012-2013 to keep Roma afloat, and after the Parisians stole the greatest gift Castan gave Roma, he formed an incredibly stout and incredibly effective pairing with Mehdi Benatia during Roma’s fantastic and ultimately frustrating 2013-2014 season.
Equally frustrating was the manner in which Castan’s time as an active Roma player came to a close. Diagnosed with a cavernoma in the fall of 2014, which required intricate brain surgery, Castan was effectively shelved until the 2015-2016 season, one in which he made only 5 appearances. In order to get Castan match time and to evaluate his fitness going forward, he was loaned to Torino for this past season, one which, unfortunately, was not terribly productive as Castan registered roughly 1,100 league minutes.
All of which brings us to today, or rather next week. With a meeting reportedly set for June 6th, Castan’s immediate future should become more lucid—does he have a spot as a rotation player with Roma or will he return home to Corinthians?
Still just 30-years-old, Castan would figure to have a few more productive seasons in him, and with Roma prepping for their annual defensive overhaul, might Castan’s experience come in handy as a reserve for Federico Fazio and (hopefully) Kostas Manolas? At his peak, Castan was a solid, smart and steady presence at the back, and given all that we experienced with Thomas Vermaelen, some reliability behind the starters would be, you know, nice.
On the flipside, and going back to our original point, Roma has cycled through two more managers since Castan left (Garcia and now Spalletti), so whoever inherits this squad would have no emotional connection to Castan, so his return, even if well-reasoned, would be far from certain.
Whatever the case may ultimately be, Castan’s camp is desperate for some certainty, as they will reportedly not entertain another loan away from Roma. And given what a solid citizen he was while he was here, they owe him that much.
So what do we think, would you welcome Castan back with open arms?