Earlier today we discussed the absurd notion that Roma would, in the absence of Riyad Mahrez, turn to Samir Nasri as their Plan B for the right wing. Pay no attention to the fact that he is not a right winger and may or may not be the Barry Bonds of the Premiership, minus the otherworldly performances. If Roma can’t land Mahrez, there are no shortage of options, so since we’ve got time, let’s run down a few of the prime, or subprime in this instance, candidates.
Mind you, these are largely based speculation and, in one special instance, a healthy dose of nostalgia. Furthermore, we won’t included Domenico Berardi because, well, because we’ve talked about him enough this summer.
Got it? Okay, here are a few short-term right wing plays Roma could make in the absence of Mahrez.
At this point, the Rossoneri’s team bus is getting awfully crowded, so they might as well off load a couple players, and while Suso stands to be one of the few incumbents who still sees the pitch, if the right offer came along, might they be tempted to counter some of those large purchases? Suso is versatile, talented, deadly with the ball at his feet and quite productive (seven goals, nine assists last season).
Market value: €18 to €24 million
Chances: Slim. He’s only 23-years-old and has already proved he knows how to carve up Serie A, Roma could do a lot worse, and one could argue he’s a better option than Mahrez, but Milan don’t seem keen to sell at this point.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Not the sexiest option considering two of his last three seasons were effectively wash outs, but man, that one in between was sublime. During the 2015-2016 Ligue 1 season, Ben Arfa was a man possessed for Nice, grabbing 17 goals and laying out six assists in league play. The goals were more than he scored in the previous five seasons combined, so if Roma pinned their hopes on the 15-16 version of Ben Arfa, they might be in for a nice surprise
Market value: €9 to €12 million
Chances: Pretty...pretty...pretty good. If Roma are to go the truly short-term route, Ben Arfa may be worth the gamble.
We mentioned Candreva during our Lazio wishlist late last week, so we’ll keep it brief. In sum, the guy can ball. In the last four seasons, Candreva has amassed 38 goals and 28 assists; you don’t get more productive than that, and at 30-years-old, he’s probably got a few good seasons left in him.
Market Value: €24ish million
Chances: Not good. He’d be a great fit for sure, but doing business with Inter, particularly with this Inter, seems a long shot.
Another youngun, Thauvin burst on the Ligue 1 scene this year, grabbing 15 goals and contributing eight assists in league play, after tallying only two strikes in the prior season. Though to be fair to Thauvin, he’s scored over 40 league goals in parts of five seasons already, so he was a bit of a known entity, but he really kicked it up a notch this past season,
Market Value: €16 to €20 million
Chances: None, he signed a new deal with Marseille, but since when has that stopped anyone? Keep an eye on him in the future, he’s sure to pop up in these spaces again.
We’ll save the best for last....
Yes, my friends, we’re talking about Coco, a/k/a our little Apple. Lamela, you undoubtedly know, first made a name for himself with our beloved club, scoring 19 league goals during his two seasons with Roma before being sacrificed in The Purge, moving to Spurs for a whopping £25.8 million. But let’s be honest, Roma could have reaped half a billion for him and we still would have been bummed. Lamela was it, he was the one meant to carry us into the post-Totti days. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
While Coco initially floundered for Spurs, he had a bit of a rebirth during the 2015-2016 season, when he scored 11 goals and contributed nine assists in all competitions before succumbing to the injury bug this past season, one win which he only played 12 competitive matches thanks to a rather serious hip injury.
Market Value: €18 to €24ish million
Chances: Hard to say, this is Spurs we’re dealing with, a tough team to negotiate with under any circumstances, let alone when you’re trying to purchase the same player you fleeced them for several years ago. But this is Coco we’re talking about; he can’t play anywhere other than Roma. We won’t allow it.
Shit, now that I really think about it, the hell with Mahrez. Give me Lamela! In all seriousness, if Roma could pull this off, it would be a shrewd investment. If he could recoup and hit the ground running, he might light Serie A aflame again.
So what do you think? Did we miss anyone?