clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Annual Roma Left Back Search Party

New, comments

Another year, another new left back!

Catania Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

In what seems to be a summer tradition akin to the 4th of July, Roma are once again in the hunt for a new left back. Granted, a portion of the need this summer is due to the unfortunate injury to Emerson Palmieri in the final match of the season. The young Brazilian was coming off a renaissance of a year where he seemed to finally be Roma’s answer to a long term problem at left back, one that hasn’t been solved since the days of Max Tonetto and then John Arne Riise (sorry, Balza).

Mario Rui

So you think Roma may have an in-house solution to fill in for Emerson Palmieri? Not so fast my friend! Mario Rui’s forced deal to Napoli to reunite with ex-manager Mauricio Sarri is pretty much done. His outspoken agent has revealed that his client will officially move to Napoli on a loan to mandatory buy deal: 3 million now, 6 million in June 2018.

Let me just side track for a second to go on a short rant, because Mario Rui has been a little bitch the past few weeks and it annoyed me. We’re talking about a player who Roma brought in just last summer. Less than a month into his stint at Roma, Rui became the latest victim of the Trigoria Ancient Burial Ground ACL curse. Roma were patient. They nursed him back to health.

Unfortunately for Rui, this injury led to Emerson getting more minutes and becoming the promising LWB he now is. However, as we all know, irony and the ACL curse struck and Emerson fucked up his own ACL, meaning Mario Rui would be the starter at LB until at least November. It was a chance for him to “return the favor” in a way; win back the starting position he lost due to injury because of an injury to the person who stole his starting position.

Rui went the opposite direction however. He decided to hold out. He refused to join the team at Pinzolo, instead throwing a temper tantrum and having his agent word vomit to the press in an attempt to force a move to Napoli. Well, it worked. So best of luck, Mario! Enjoy the shit hole that is Naples!

Sorry about that. Without further ado, here we go! In no particular order, here are ten potential candidates for the Next AS Roma Left Back (and an apology in advance for the amount of shit electronic music you are about to endure)!

Matteo Darmian

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. The ex-Torino RB/LB/Whatever is a versatile solution with Serie A experience. Darmian hasn’t had the best of times at Manchester United, struggling to adapt to the EPL style of play (and he probably hates the weather and food as well, let's be honest). With a World Cup coming this fall, he will be desperate to play as much as possible at a high level in order to win a call-up. The beauty of Darmian is his flexibility, which could see him fill in at LB until Emerson returns and then potentially switch over to RB if Bruno Peres doesn’t show much improvement over last season.

Antonio Barreca

Another student of the Torino wingback factory. While Davide Zappacosta is the more highly sought after name at the moment (and too expensive for Roma, hence his omission from this list), Barreca impressed last season when given a chance. The departure of Bruno Peres to Roma left a hole at one of the wingback positions for the second straight year for Torino, and once again they seem to have found a replacement in-house. 28 appearances last season led to a call-up and three starts for the Azzurrini at the Euro U21s. Barreca would be another piece of semi-raw clay in need of moulding, but what better sculptor for him than Eusebio di Francesco?

Mattia De Sciglio

De Sciglio has been linked with a move to Roma and seemingly every other club over the past few seasons. The catch? He’s still at AC Milan. But with the player’s contact expiring this summer, the rumors are picking up steam. Like Darmian, he is a flexible back who also will want playing time to win a WC call-up for the Azzurri. If you believe the press, it seems he is destined for Juventus, which is probably more of a “cock block” than an actual need (we’re talking about a club who already has a stockpile of young, talented, backs. They don’t need him).

AS Roma v FC Internazionale Milano - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Lucas Digne

A blast from the past. Some will love this, others coughWaynecough will hate it. Digne had a decent loan stint with Roma in 2015/16, but not good enough for the club to exercise the high-fee buy option (which after the Karsdorp deal, doesn’t actually look too high anymore. Oh EPL money in football....) Anyway, Digne moved on to Barcelona, where is obviously behind in the pecking order. He’s in this list due to his potential desire to leave, need for minutes to gain a World Cup call-up, experience with Roma/Serie A, and the fact that it would probably be a loan-type deal, which helps financially.

Nicolas Tagliafico

A sleeper name (and a name that means “cuts figs” in Italian)! Tagliafico is a left back for Independiente in Argentina. He recently was called up to Jorge Sampaoli’s Argentinian NT squad (mostly due the the injury of Marcos Rojo), but the 23 year old left a solid impression in the friendly against Brazil. The Independiente captain is considered to have a smart tactical sense, has played CB on numerous occasions, and has decent pace. No official links or rumors of a move to Roma (or even to Europe in general), but with 18 months left on his contact, he’s a player that I could definitely see Monchi taking a chance on.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Wendell

Bayer Leversuken’s left back has been linked with Roma already in this window, in fact, Bren already dove into this a little while back. He’s definitely a talented youngster with potential (how many times have I said that so far in this article?), but his price and potential desire for starting minutes after Emerson’s return may be a stumbling block.

Italy Training Session Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Domenico Criscito

A name that has been battered around for seemingly years now. Criscito has been off in Russia for a long six years now since leaving Serie A. Last summer, he was mentioned often due to his familiarity with Luciano Spalletti given their time together at Zenit St. Petersburg. Criscito, however, is now 30, has a new Italian manager in Roberto Mancini, and his ex-manager Spalletti is now at Inter rather than Roma. Not the greatest fit, huh? Well, on the flip side of the coin, he has one year remaining on his contract, wouldn’t command a huge transfer fee, and would be a solid bench option. He could even find himself being a dark horse for a World Cup call-up, given his experience of playing in Russia.

Ali Adnan

The speedy Iraqi was linked with Roma before making a move to Udinese two summers ago. Still just 23 years old, Adnan has managed 21 appearances in each of his first two seasons in Udine, with one of those being an absolute master class of a performance against Roma last season. Udinese did pick up Brazilian left back Gabriel Silva in last year’s winter window, which could mean an opening for Adnan to make a jump to Roma.

Jetro Willems

With Monchi’s recent hard on for the Eredivisie and Roma’s history of being linked with Willems, he seems to be a no-brainer for the list. The 23 year-old PSV and ex-Dutch NT left back hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype surrounding him a few years back, to the point that he was dropped from the NT and hasn’t been called up since October of 2016. With his contract expiring in June and an obvious desire to be called up to the NT for the World Cup (that is, if they qualify...), Willem’s could be a decent reclamation project, especially given his relatively young age.

U16 Italy v U16 Germany  - International Friendly Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Luca Pellegrini

The final name on the list, and probably the final resort for Roma at LB if all else fails. Pelelgrini would be a potential in-house replacement, as he’s been staring for the Primavera in their past two successful campaigns. The 18 year old featured during the friendly vs Pinzolo, and it seems that EDF will have plenty of time to look at him and see if he is ready to make the next big jump. But with Emerson out for more than simply just a few matches, Pellegrini would seemingly be a huge risk to take with Champions League football returning to Rome this fall.

So, who you got?!

Poll

Roma’s next left back should be:

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Matteo Darmian
    (110 votes)
  • 6%
    Antonio Barreca
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    Mattia De Sciglio
    (37 votes)
  • 17%
    Lucas Digne
    (96 votes)
  • 4%
    Nicolas Tagliafico
    (25 votes)
  • 8%
    Wendell
    (47 votes)
  • 5%
    Domenico Criscito
    (29 votes)
  • 3%
    Ali Adnan
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Jetro Willems
    (19 votes)
  • 21%
    Luca Pellegrini
    (120 votes)
  • 3%
    Other (Share in comments)
    (20 votes)
557 votes total Vote Now