Considering that we spent this morning, and really much of the past week, wringing our hands over the future of Roma’s frontline, desperately trying to find some clarity on the Gregoire Defrel, Domenico Berardi, Andriy Yarmolenko and Lucas Moura fronts, it’s only fitting that we end the week fretting over the potential future of Roma’s frontline. Despite tearing his ACL at the outset of the 2015 season, coming back only to endure a rather fruitless loan spell with Granada last season, Ezequiel Ponce has always been held in high esteem in Roma prospect circles.
How high you ask? Well, in our completely scientific and in no-way biased U-23 prospect countdown, Ponce ranked 5th last season, ahead of the likes of Alisson Becker and Emerson Palmieri. Due to his compact frame, skill and strength, we often likened him to Carlos Tevez, so it’s not hard to understand why we’ve always been so excited about the kid affectionately known as the tank.
While Roma has always invested heavily in youth, with the arrival of Monchi and Eusebio Di Francesco, that prospect proclivity has been given further emphasis. And with no discernible future center forward behind Edin Dzeko, Ponce’s path to playing time remains wide open, making the next year or so of his career incredibly important; Roma needs to find their very own Sassuolo for Ponce if he is to replicate Lorenzo Pellegrini’s career arch.
Sending him to Sassuolo would be too easy, so Roma have found another safe harbor for one of their most heralded youngins, Lille. Sky Sport Italia broke word late this evening (their time at least) that Roma and Lille have agreed to a one-year loan with an option to buy for the 20-year-old forward.
Now, this could go horribly wrong for Roma on two fronts. One, Ponce could struggle to find playing time and risk losing another year of critical development, or two, considering there aren’t too many world beaters in his way, Ponce could take off at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy and Roma would lose him outright should Lille exercise that option.
However, as of right now, no details were released about the nature and/or cost of that option, so we’ll save the speculation for later in the season. In the meantime, if you find yourself wanting a Ligue 1 team to follow, why not Lille?