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Reports: Defrel Deal Done

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It appears as though EDF got his man

US Sassuolo v Genoa CFC - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Just yesterday we discussed the somewhat dormant Gregoire Defrel transfer rumors, and how, amidst all the Riyad Mahrez and Domenico Berardi rumors bombarding us this summer, Defrel just sort of laid there underneath the surface, waiting for his moment to erupt (insert your favorite STD reference here). And here we are, barely a day later, and it seems as though Roma and Sassuolo have gotten a deal done.

The Gazzetta dello Sport, among others, is now reporting that the yellow-reds and black-greens have agreed to a €20 million deal for Defrel, Sassuolo’s 26-year-old striker-cum-winger. The deal would see Roma fork over an additional €3 million if certain bonuses are met during the deal, while Defrel will reportedly earn €1.5 million per season. {Note: some sources indicate it’s a €5 million loan + €15 million mandatory option to buy}

While some may quibble about the price tag, especially since Roma were so staunchly against crossing the €15 million threshold for Defrel during the winter, there’s no denying it; Defrel was incredibly productive last year, slotting home 14 goals in all competitions while also creating 30 scoring chances in league play, or roughly one per appearances.

Beyond the cost, the next major point of contention is simply what role Defrel will occupy at Roma. If he’s purely an alternative to Edin Dzeko, then sweet, fancy Moses, that’s a lot of money to pay. On the other hand if he’s being purchased to replace Mohamed Salah, then we’re bound to be disappointed.

The truth, as it so often does, probably rests somewhere in between those two alternatives. Defrel is very much like your standard late 90s/early 00s NBA combo guard; not big enough to be a bruiser like Dzeko, nor swift enough to replicate Salah’s role. He doesn’t do any one thing exceedingly well, but he has a nose for goal and an ability to create for others, making him a potentially potent addition to Roma’s front line.

Given Roma’s three-pronged schedule this year, Defrel’s lack of definition might, in a strange way, be exactly what Roma needs. In instances where Dzeko is misfiring, and the attack stagnates around him, Defrel can come off the bench and, through his greater mobility, shift the point of attack while also providing a punch in the middle. On the flipside, if EDF does start him on the wing, it would enable Di Francesco to subtly morph his formation on the fly without losing too much mobility on the wings.

Did Roma overpay for Defrel? Yeah, probably, but he just gives EDF so many options/alternatives/wrinkles, that it wouldn’t be a shock to see Defrel log over 2,000 minutes and crack a dozen goals again.