With Mohamed Salah increasingly looking like this year’s Financial Fair Play sacrificial lamb—unless he tears his ACL—Roma are reportedly lining up replacements. You’re a Roma fan, so you don’t need me to rehash once more how important Salah has been to the club’s success over the past two seasons, a point underscored by Monchi’s €50 million valuation, but it seems like Salah’s agents and Liverpool itself are making headway on a transfer to the Reds.
After turning down a €32 million offer earlier in the week, it seemed that Monchi was holding firm to his initial valuation for Salah, however, word has since spread that Roma will capitulate if Liverpool crosses the €40 million threshold, which would nearly double Roma’s investment in the Egyptian.
Despite protestations otherwise from his attorney, the fact that these rumors have incrementally increased, including only Roma and Liverpool, leads one to believe that there may be a kernel of truth to them, not to mention the fact that the club must clear €30 million prior to June 30th.
All of which brings us to the latest wrinkles in this rumor, Domenico Berardi. If Roma do indeed pull down €40 million for Salah, they would immediately invest €25 million of that into Berardi, Sassuolo’s 22-year-old winger. Berardi, once seen as Italy’s it kid only two seasons ago, has fallen on some hard times, registering only 12 goals the past two seasons, a far cry from the 31 he notched between 2013 and 2015. Though to be fair, Berardi was a injured this past season, tallying only 1700 minutes on the pitch.
Besides his innate talent, the connections between Berardi and Roma seem obvious. He’s young, he’s incredibly talented and he’s a fan of Eusebio Di Francesco, who may or may not be Roma’s next manager. While €25 million is a sum Roma seldom approaches, Berardi has all the characteristics one craves in a wide player—a good touch, finishing, playmaking ability, a proclivity to cut in and even the ability to play all over the frontline. So while Berardi doesn’t have Salah’s blinding speed, he has a broader set of skills that would give Roma’s next manager further tactical flexibility.
There is another question at play here, though. If Roma has to raise €30 million in funds in roughly three and a half weeks, would you rather lose Salah’s game changing speed and nose for goal to a foreign club, or would it be better to sell Antonio Rüdiger, who is readily replaced with Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio, to a direct rival?
It’s an interesting and anxiety inducing melange of names, but it seems certain that one of Salah or Rüdiger isn’t long for Rome.
Update: Multiple reports indicate that Salah has been sold for €40M to Liverpool