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Totti Today #121: The Right Man for Right-Back

Will Peres’ second season at Roma be his breakout one or will the pressure get the better of him?

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

With the arrival of Karsdorp (a potential 19m transfer) and also Florenzi nearing 100% again, will there be any space left for Bruno Peres at right-back? Di Francesco hasn’t exactly profiled himself as a huge fan of Peres in his interviews, but he’s willing to give the Brazilian a chance. And rightfully so.

Before I go any further: Bren and co have already shared a lot of numbers and statistical reports about the player Bruno Peres here in Church, but this post is more like a gut feeling about his future in Rome. He has his qualities, but there are also other factors than just plain numbers to take into account. The atmosphere in the locker room, (lack of) faith from the trainer, confidence, resiliency etc.

Just look at the transformation of a certain Edin Dzeko. From a wooden and unsexy lamp post to a mean killer machine and capocannoniere of Serie A, doing better than Higuain, Icardi, Bacca or Mertens. And then I’ve not even talked about our Brazilian Riise, Emerson ‘from zero to hero’ Palmieri. You see, miracles DO happen in Italy.

So why couldn’t Bruno Peres be next? Karsdorp obviously seems the prime candidate for the job, as I think the management don’t want their 19m investment to just sit on the bench all the time. Florenzi could still be in the waiting room until September, as we don’t want to rush him. Plus, Alessandro’s more of an all-rounder and can also play in midfield or even at right wing when needed.

The same can be said about Peres and Karsdorp though. All three men are dangerous going forward and are not slow by any means. While Florenzi does everything with more grinta, heart and passion, Peres seems more technical and loves to dribble his opponents. Not always with success but you can’t say he doesn’t try or doesn’t care. At Torino he was the undisputable right-back and cornerstone of the team. When Roma struck a deal for his signature, many of us were excited because we got one of the league’s most intruiging right-backs.

At this point Karsdorp of course is still a question mark and an unknown entity in Italy. At 22 years he was hailed the best right-back in the Dutch league and also a regular in the NT, no small feat at that age. And he got tattoos like... everywhere on his body. I like tattoos in my defence, thank you. One disadvantage: His injury and following knee surgery, the perfect introduction of his Roman career one might say. He should be fit in time but at Roma you never know.

It seems Monchi will bring in at least one quality addition (maybe even two) for the RW position, so there will be a lot of people fighting over a spot on the right side in general. Five guys for two spots, that’s rather crowded.

Since Peres arrived in Italy, he has racked up a lot of appearances each season. 65 games in two seasons at Torino (only in Serie A), last season he featured in 30 Serie A games in Rome. How will he cope with the role of Karsdorp’s deputy or our main Coppa Italia right-back? Or perhaps this discussion isn’t necessary at all because Monchi is already planning Bruno’s exit in a couple of days/weeks? Who knows. But at this moment Peres is a Roma player and costs about as much as Karsdorp. He deserves a chance to prove himself until at least late August.

The ideal scenario for Di Francesco and Roma is a titan duel between Peres and Karsdorp. They are undeniably two skilled right-backs and look suited for EDF’s attacking 4-3-3. Just play the best one of the two (Bruno or Ricky), the one that impresses the coach the most in training or on the pitch. That way, they both keep each other sharp. One fault and EDF simply benches the poor guy while the other one is raring to go and take his chances. Meanwhile, Florenzi has all the time of the world to recover and perhaps help out in midfield or up front. A win-win situation. Unless of course Peres will be sold, which wouldn’t be a strange thing if you followed this club since June, and we’re left with two right-backs, both coming of surgeries.

So you might wanna throw all those previous poor performances of Peres out of the window, because the transfer of Karsdorp could also lift Bruno to a higher level. This is a blessing in disguise. Last season we complained about the depth of the squad and overall quality on the bench. From September until at least December Roma’s gonna have a tight schedule. We simply need both of them, period.

With the dynamic duo Peres-Karsdorp, at least one position on the field is golden and ready to take Serie A by storm. Better think twice than selling this time around, Monchi.