Even before hiring Eusebio Di Francesco away from Sassuolo, Roma and the Neroverdi were inextricably linked, with Sassuolo serving as a veritable petri dish for Roma’s youth players, most notably Lorenzo Pellegrini, who is now, of course, back with Roma. For much of the summer we operated under the assumption that Domenico Berardi would be the next man to change the black and green of Sassuolo for the red and yellow of Rome. However, with a price tag approaching €40 million, Berardi may prove too cost prohibitive for our dear old, financially challenged club.
In his absence, Roma is once again turning to Luciano Spalletti’s white whale, Gregoire Defrel, for reinforcements. Defrel, 26-years-old, is fresh off a pretty solid season in which he banged home 14 goals and dished out three assists in all competitions. While those three assists were pretty par for the course for Defrel, the 14 goals represented a career high as Defrel seemingly found a new home as the spear of EDF’s attack.
With Roma reportedly lodging a bid of €16 million, Defrel is infinitely cheaper than Berardi, though they obviously play different positions, so if money were no object, I can’t imagine they’d be mutually exclusive. However, that does not mean this move is so cut and dry. While Defrel has played other positions, he is nominally a center forward, a position currently occupied by the defending Capocannoniere Edin Dzeko, so are Roma really prepared to pay that much for a backup forward, or is there a position switch afoot?
It may seem like an inconsequential question given Roma’s preference for positionless attackers, but if last season proved anything it's that Dzeko needs a foil on the right hand side, one capable of cutting up a defense and serving up shots on a platter like Mohamed Salah, who assisted on seven of Dzeko’s 29 goals, making them the most potent combo in the league. Defrel is not that foil, not by a longshot. So, once again, Defrel would be a great depth move, but something about this move isn’t cutting the mustard.
While Monchi’s moves have rounded out the squad to an extent, if there is one area in which Roma absolutely must spend top dollar, it’s that right wing spot. If Defrel is purely a backup/reinforcement for Dzeko, cheaper options exist, if he’s being forced to change positions, then, well, we’re in a world of trouble.