With the Riyad Mahrez to Roma rumor slowly drifting out to sea, it seems as though Monchi and Roma are desperately seeking another lifeline for their right wing. While we’ve spoken about several Plan Bs, including Suso, Domenico Berardi and even Hatem Ben Arfa, multiple outlets kicked off Sunday with a new, albeit familiar, name, Juventus’ winger Juan Cuadrado.
Cuadrado is no stranger to Roma fans, having spent virtually his entire career in Serie A with stops in Udinese, Lecce, Fiorentina and Juventus. Outside of a brief dalliance with Chelsea, Cuadrado has been a Serie A lifer, with his best days coming with the Viola where he scored 20 goals over the course of three seasons. Most recently, Cuadrado put in 2,100 solid minutes for the Old Lady, scoring two goals and dishing out six assists in league play.
At 29-years-old Cuadrado is fully developed at this point in his career and would be, if nothing else, a solid and steady short term option for Roma. Cuadrado is obviously skilled with the ball at his feet, he plays a decent cross and, as the six assists attest to, he can set up his teammates. The problem, as far as this Roma is concerned, is that Cuadrado was primarily fielded as an attacking mid last season under Max Allegri, and while he as featured on the wing throughout his career, his is predominantly right footed, which runs counter to EDFs stated preference for an inverted right winger.
Throw on a €30 million price tag, and this option B starts to look more like an option Z. He’s too expensive, too old and not exactly what Roma are looking for at this point in time. Of course, there is the possibility that he’ll flourish in a full time role—last year was the first time he eclipsed 2,000 minutes since the 2013-2014 season—but something about this smacks as the worst possible Plan B for Roma.
Cuadrado would be a great addition as a depth move—he can play anywhere on the right hand side and is quite skilled—but he has only topped 10 goals once and his six assists last term was a career high. So if we’re looking for someone to recreate Salah’s production, even say 75% of it, Cuadrado is not that player, and definitely not worth a potential €30 million investment.