While most, if not all, of us here at CdT are massive fans of Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio, we have to face facts: due to Roma’s deplorable defensive depth, they were worn ragged this year, with the effects of that fatigue mounting with every passing minute. And while Juan Jesus has exceeded virtually all our expectations following his poorly-received signing a couple years ago, once Hector Moreno was sold, he was the only man standing behind Fazio and Manolas.
Roma doesn’t yet have the financial wherewithal to go two to three deep at every position, but they’ve had admirable defensive depth (at least in the central pairings) over the past several seasons. From Ervin Zukanovic to Rafael Toloi to Davide Astori (RIP), Roma has had some solid workman behind their starting defenders recently, granting some much needed rest and relaxation to the likes of Manolas, Mehdi Benatia, and Leandro Castan, among others.
And as we’ve discussed throughout the week, Roma still find themselves in a bit of an awkward transfer spot, wherein things aren’t quite as bleak as they were during the nadir of their FFP days, but they’re not yet in the free and clear from those onerous regulations. As a result, Monchi and his right hand man, Federico Balzaretti, will have to scour the globe to find the perfect amalgam of tactical fit and cost.
Enter Ivan Marcano, Porto’s 30-year-old Spanish defender. Marcano, who will soon be 31-years-old, is a left-footed center back capable of playing left back in a pinch. Standing over six feet tall, Marcano is no stranger to scoring, having tallied nearly 30 goals in his career (all comps, all clubs per Di Marzio), but it’s his ability on the ball that should capture your attention. In 30 league appearances this season, Marcano averaged over 50 passes per match (14th in the league) while his 4.8 long balls played per match was eight among all outfield players in the Primeira Liga.
In other words, Marcano is, as we discussed earlier in the week, the vertical passing center back EDF so desperately craves, and what’s more, his contract is about to expire. Not one to wait, Monchi and Balzaretti reportedly already (or soon will—the translation was a bit jenky) flow to Portugal to discuss contractual terms with Marcano and his representatives. The offer, which will reportedly pay €2 million per year, has tempted Marcano, to the point where he’s asked for time to mull it over.
Make no mistake, Marcano won’t supplant Fazio or Manolas, but his bundle of skills would be a welcoming addition to the depth chart, which isn’t, you know, terribly deep.