Amidst the whirlwind of Roma sales which include Mohamed Salah, Leandro Paredes, and
Kostas Manolas Antonio Rüdiger, Roma have managed to acquire French midfielder, Maxime Gonalons, for a mere €5m. While the acquisition may seem underwhelming, the Frenchman offers Roma experience and depth in the defensive midfield position, seemingly coming as a substitute for aging Daniele De Rossi.
Joining Olympique Lyonnais at the age of ten, Gonalons would go on to cap eight seasons with the French club, totaling 333 appearances and 13 goals. Obviously, more known for his defensive attributes, Gonalons brings a commanding, physical presence along with an eye for passing. His defensive statistics for the last campaign are as follows:
Clearly, Maxime’s assets are his tackles and interceptions per game. DDR averaged two tackles and two interceptions per game in 27 appearances. While not a fast player, Gonalons relies on his strength to dispossess opponents, hence the high number of fouls he concedes. In his last season at Lyon he amounted seven yellow cards and only one red. Despite his physical presence, Gonalons is also a decent passer. His distribution statistics for the last campaign are as follows:
His 90% passing success and long balls per game stick out here. DDR managed an 85.7% pass success along with an average of 5.1 long balls a game. However, Gonalons only totaled one assist to DDR’s four. They both had similar average passes per game around the 58 mark.
So what should we make of this move?
While tears still flow over the departure of Paredes, pundits here at the CdT shouldn’t equate Leo with Maxime. Obviously they are two different players with different roles in the midfield. Gonalons appears to be a suitable back-up to DDR, similar to that of Seydou Keita during the Garcia Era. At the cost, many can’t complain about this signing. Yet, the question remains: who will replace Leo? Gonalons isn’t a regista, nor is Lorenzo Pellegrini. Does Monchi have a card up his sleeve? Or will EDF have only five midfielders to spread across three competitions? If June is any indicator July is going to be a serpentine ride.