One of the most frequent charges levelled at Roma by her fans and pundits alike is their complete and utter lack of organizational stability. And no position on the pitch typifies this “approach” for Roma more than fullback, where the list of names is as long as it is lousy (not that they’ve all been flops, there’s just been a lot of names). In the past ten years or so, Roma fans have been privy to the likes of Gabriel Heinze, Aleandro Rosi, Max Tonetto, Marco Cassetti, Marco Motta, and Bruno Peres on the flanks, and while the last name on that list was a rather heralded arrival, his disappointing debut season, coupled with yet another regime change in Roma, will likely spell the end of his career in the Eternal City.
With Peres presumably following Mohamed Salah, Leandro Paredes, Wojciech Szczesny and Kostas Manolas out the door—just a quick reminder, Roma set a club record for points and goals last year—the Giallorossi are in the market for yet another fullback.
Enter Rick Karsdorp
Roma’s emissaries are reportedly flying to Holland to secure Pretty Ricky’s signature on Monday for €15 million plus bonuses. Karsdorp, a 22-year-old Dutchman, would bring the straightforward attacking approach Eusebio Di Francesco craves. Having spent the early part of his career as a midfielder, Karsdorp has the technique to thrive as an attacking fullback, not to mention the passing and crossing ability to spread play throughout the pitch. His ability to dribble, pick out a pass, cut in and even serve as a defacto midfielder has led many to liken him to, you guessed it, Philipp Lahm.
Bringing Karsdorp into the fold would quite obviously spell the end of Peres, but what would it mean for Alessandro Florenzi, the new capitano futuro? Well, given EDF’s ZZ-like tendencies, we can presume he has aims of moving Ale forward, taking advantage of his off-the-ball ability and penchant for making the big play. Now, after spending the past several seasons transforming himself into a fullback, we can question if jerking him around again is the best move for his development, but Ale is nothing but malleable, so something tells me he’ll be okay.
Now, who exactly plays opposite of Karsdorp remains to be seen. With Emerson Palmieri out for several months, one would assume Mario Rui would finally get his chance to shine, but he’s seemingly set on a move to Napoli, so couple that with Manolas leaving, and we may be looking at a backline with a 75% turnover.
One can wonder what this mercato would have looked like if Spalletti could have been convinced to stay—I can’t imagine there would have been this much turnover already—but Monchi and EDF seem hell bent on crafting the team in their image, which is fine, except for, you know, they were so damn good last year.
But I digress, back to the matter at hand. Karsdorp, in addition to giving Kevin Strootman someone to talk to, seems like a hell of an addition to the squad. While his name didn’t carry the same amount of cache as Peres, he’s a hell of a talent and might soon bring that same level of excitement many of us had when Peres signed on only a year ago....which, good lord, this fucking club is absurd.