At least for one day, we’ve been granted a reprieve from the Riyad Mahrez saga, one that has been going on since the days of dial-up connections, to focus on a slightly younger and slightly less exciting player in the form of Diego Laxalt, to whom Roma have suddenly been connected, joining their friends from Florence, because if there’s one club you want to emulate this summer, it’s Fiorentina, right?
Laxalt, a 24-year-old Uruguayan jack of all trades midfielder/defender for the Genoa Cricket and Football Club is no stranger to Serie A fans. Even at this young age, Laxalt is a bit of a Serie A veteran, having signed with Inter Milan in 2013, several weeks before his 20th birthday, and has since featured for Bologna, Empoli and Genoa.
While Laxalt’s Italian career got off to a bit of a rocky start—he never played a single minute for Inter Milan thanks in part to Walter Mazzarri—he has become a mainstay with the Griffins, totalling over 6,000 minutes the past two season, including 36 league starts this season, during which he scored one goal and contributed four assists while playing three different positions along the left flank.
Despite the massive amount of time he’s spent on the pitch the past two seasons, Laxalt’s role is still difficult to pin down. Is he a defensive midfielder? A wingback? An attacking midfielder?
Whatever the case may be, Laxalt profiles as the type of player who is ready to take the next step in his career. After putting in three years with Genoa, assuming a variety of roles and positions, Laxalt seems ready to be defined, as it were. The talent is there, but much like our own Alessandro Florenzi, the constant shifting in positions has come at the cost of his overall development.
Laxalt isn’t exactly a diamond in the rough—he has over 7,000 minutes of Serie A action—but with a more defined role and a better support system, he could become a Matteo Darmian-type player; a guy who does a little bit of everything pretty well. The problem, as far as this rumor is concerned, is that there is simply no fit for Laxalt on this Roma roster. Laxalt has made his home on the left flank, which for Roma, between Aleksandar Kolarov, Emerson Palmieri, Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy, is pretty well stocked.
However, if they could find room for him, he’s precisely the sort of player a club fighting on multiple fronts needs.