As far as looks go, Monchi and Santa Claus don’t have too much in common. Monchi’s bald and has a dark black beard, whereas the man from the North Pole is well-known for his jolly white beard and head of hair. Nevertheless, if there was someone from the A.S. Roma family who would don the red suit and listen to everyone’s Christmas wishes, it would certainly be the former goalkeeper from Spain. He certainly has the tools (Pallotta’s checkbook) to make 2019 a brighter year for giallorossi fans across the world; with that in mind, here’s what we think Roma fans should be wishing for as the winter mercato opens.
One Centerback, Please
Despite the purchases of Ivan Marcano and William Bianda (remember him?) this summer, Roma’s defense has been quite poor this season. Kostas Manolas has had to hold together the defense with a little bit of sticky glue and some help from Aleksandar Kolarov and Robin Olsen; Federico Fazio has clearly regressed since Argentina’s disastrous World Cup performance, and Juan Jesus is what he has always been, a serviceable backup. If Roma want to slowly climb up the standings in 2019, a reinforcement at centerback is a must.
Iago Maidana seems like the smart bet to fly into Fiumicino in January, with Marcano most likely leaving town. It may be a risk to put the hopes of Roma’s defense on a 22-year-old giant who only has experience in South America, but it’s a risk Monchi looks happy to make. If all else fails, maybe recall Elio Capradossi from his fourth Serie B loan? I remember when he was going to be the next big thing. Good times...
Even More Midfielders?
Believe it or not, rumors indicate that Monchi is looking to bring in another midfielder. Considering the recent signings of Bryan Cristante, Steven NZonzi, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Ante Coric, it’s a little surprising that Roma feel the need to look for another midfielder. Granted, the midfield could use a shake-up, but I can’t lose the sense that a lot of Roma’s midfield woes will be solved by allowing these players more time to gel. Cristante in particular seems to play better and better each match, and I can’t wait to see how Eusebio Di Francesco (or some other manager, because who knows at this point) combines Cristante with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo. All three could be important cogs in the Azzurri midfield in the future; wouldn’t it be fantastic to replicate the way Juve’s defense was once the core of the Azzurri defense?
I suppose if a midfielder must be bought, one name that’s caught my eye is Sander Berge, dallagente’s favorite son. As much as I might hate to say it, Daniele De Rossi is certainly aging; the former Italian international recently admitted that the end of his career is most likely near. A giant of a ball-winning midfielder, Berge would certainly be a smart long-term investment, and if Roma can woo him to the Olimpico, he would be further evidence that despite some transfer goofs, Monchi means business.
Time for a Schick-up Up Front?
Speaking of transfer goofs, Patrik Schick has not exactly had a wonderful time at the Olimpico since his transfer two summers ago. I’ve already written a bit about the why behind it, but regardless of the reason, it appears that both Schick and Roma think a 6-month reprieve from the capitol city may do him some good. With a return to Sampdoria apparently in the cards, Monchi is once again looking for a backup striker to spell Edin Džeko when necessary, and perhaps to take the mantle from the Bosnian Diamond in the long term.
As for who that replacement should be? Some rumors have suggested the answer to that is 21-year-old Polish striker David Kownacki, currently of Sampdoria, but to quote a recent American president: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” So instead I’ll ask Monchi for Giuseppe Rossi, free agent and former Italian international. When Džeko is healthy (and he’s healthy most of the time), having a young striker behind him in the pecking order only does that younger striker a disservice. Considering that Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti can both play as a false nine if necessary, I don’t see any harm in trying out the injury-prone Rossi to see if he has any gas left in the tank. He’s certainly not the player he was at his peak, but we’re looking for a backup striker here, not the next coming of Francesco Totti.
All I Want For Christmas Is The Champions League (Again)
The Scudetto is certainly out of reach this year, but another ticket to Europe’s biggest club competition is still within Roma’s grasp. There are certainly a mix of tactical and player changes that have to occur during the next few months for Roma to be able to leapfrog into fourth place, but it’s certainly possible. With a little luck and the return of the 2017-2018 Eusebio Di Francesco, these moves can help ensure that Roma’s putrid 2018 doesn’t turn into a completely lost season.
What should be Monchi’s January Priority?
This poll is closed
Goalkeeper (this is the wrong answer)