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Totti Today: Free Monchi

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Four transfers done before June 15, these are nice times indeed

Spal v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Well it’s sure a nice change, isn’t it? While tifosi of AS Roma usually had to be patient and wait for mid August to welcome some new names (some obscure and anonymous), June has been a revolution by Roma’s standards, all thanks to one guy: Monchi.

Now that Monchi 1) had one full season in Rome and got to know his coach and squad a bit better and 2) is finally released of FIFA’s FFP (Finances For Pussies? Foolish Fines and Protocols?), he’s obviously on fire and already brought four (4!) men (well, mostly kids actually) to Rome.

In the past the only Roman transfers in June were the returns of loanees. Some of those I have never heard of. Like this month for example: Lorenzo Vasco, Niccolo Tofanari or Emanuele Spinozzi. Uhm, yeah, welcome back I guess. You‘re gonna be a real strenghtening by August... There are some more ‘exciting’ names like Seck, Castan, Tumminello or Sadiq but if we’re really honest, none of those will still be at Trigoria by September.

But all of this amateurism is no more and out of the window. Monchi’s here to save the day and he shown some balls the last couple of weeks. It all started with this Croatian prodigy Coric while free agent and veteran Marcano quickly followed in his footsteps. Cristante and Kluivert completed Monchi’s party of four. A lot of other names are linked to Roma right now so it seems Monchi has no plans of letting his foot of the pedal. Ziyech, Berardi, Piccini, Meret,… More talented players are being lined up by him and Eusebio.

The Spaniard also did one smart outgoing transfer: He released Bruno Peres from his Roman spell as the Brazilian will return to his former club Torino. Peres will try to recover his best form in Turin, as he never really settled in Rome and wasn’t exactly a fan favorite, especially here in Church. With Florenzi and Karsdorp, the rightback position has bodies enough to survive until at least January. Again, nice work Monchi!

So, let’s look back at Roma’s first deals of the Summer and how it affects the club.

Coric. The first newcomer and perhaps the most talented of the bunch. But can he succesfully make the switch from his homeland Croatia to Italy? Is he tactically smart and strong enough to survive in Serie A? Or will he find life difficult like Gerson? Anyway, it sure is a good deal because a lot of bigger clubs than Roma were chasing him. He didn’t cost much so I guess it’s worth the risk. Don’t forget he already won two titles and a cup in Croatie while he narrowly missed the World Cup in Russia.

Pjanic arrived in Rome when he was exactly the same age. Mira got 30 games in his debut season. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Who knows, Roma might have the ’next Luka Modric’ in its ranks. My thoughts? I don’t see him immediately setting Serie A alight in his first season, he’ll need some time to adjust to his environment and team mates. Patience is a key word here. And Di Francesco is the ideal coach to launch Ante’s career.

Next was Ivan Marcano. This almost felt like a copy of the Moreno transfer one year ago. Free agent, CB, around his 30’s and succesful in multiple countries. Champion in Greece and Portugal, one cup in Russia and Greece. Ok, not the strongest leagues out there, but he knows how to win a thing or two and has seen a fair bit of Europe.

Experience at a low cost. Can’t hurt and he can give Manolas and Fazio a breather during Coppa games or against the likes of Parma, SPAL or Sassuolo. However, I don’t exactly feel safe with him and Jesus as the only available back-ups for CB. Perhaps it needs something more but for now, it suffices. At least Marcano will have a full pre-season under his belt to get to know his partners in crime.

The third transfer is certainly the biggest, baddest and most impressive one of Monchi this month: Bryan Cristante, Atalanta’s midfield engine and one of Italy’s best midfielders in 2017-2018. He is loaned until June 2019 for a mere 5m but then Roma will need to pay another 25m to own him 100%.

A hefty fee but keep in mind Andy Carroll once went for € 41m euros and Van Dijk is rated € 85m. Laporte for 65m, David Luiz 62m, Bernardeschi 40m.... Sadly, the mercato is becoming one big circus so a young, promising and upcoming Italian for 30m isn’t blasphemy. Color me excited to see Bryan in giallo e rosso, I predict him to quickly become a fan favorite next to Dani and Florenzi.

Question is: Who will leave? Will it be Radja or Stroots? Or will Roma finally go into Hulk Smash mode and keep all of Dani, Strootman, Radja, Pellegrini and Gonalons while adding Coric and Cristante? Surely one of the most stacked and strongest mids in Serie A? I hope so. There are enough options to sell or loan (Defrel, Peres, Jesus, Gerson, SES,...) and it would send a clear signal to Juve, Napoli and co.

The fourth piece of Mochi’s puzzle: Justin Kluivert. Boy, talking about a raw diamond. Even younger than Coric, Justin just turned 19 and is already a star in his country. He even made his senior debut with the NT this year and scored ten goals last season in the Eredivise and a handful of assists. Now, scoring ten goals in one season doesn’t mean much. Hell, even Sadiq scored quite a few at NAC Breda while Schick or SES could easily reach 20.

However, concering Kluivert, it’s not only about stats. It’s about his ceiling. His flair and tools of destruction. Who knows where he will end up? One day he can become world clas, better than SES, Ünder or all the others (bar Totti). For God’s sake, he achieved those numbers while he was 17/18 years. SES was still at Padova at that age, Perotti played for an Argentinian side in second division. Let’s just hope he’s still at Roma when he reaches his prime.

I don’t dare to bet he will score another 10 goals in Serie A next season, but he’s not going out on loan that’s for sure. He looks like an immediate reinforcement. His total cost will be around € 20-22m so a lot of hope (and money) is invested in this kid. Imagine a front three of Kluivert, Schick and Ünder with guys like Pellegrini, Coric and Cristante behind them. Florenzi and Luca Pellegrini on the flanks.

You can say the last couple of weeks have changed Roma’s future. It looks even more bright thanks to Coric, Cristante and Kluivert. And it’s not over yet. Monchi’s got some more tricks upon his sleeve. All this while the mercato still has to get into full swing.

So far Monchi has done a great job. Usually June is a dull month and it acts as a break, when we look out for pre-season and friendlies against Bellinzona or Pinzolo. But for the first time since long, June has been a rollercoaster and there’s a new wind blowing. Roma has been in the headlines more than Inter, Napoli or Juve.

The chains of FFP are off, Monchi is now truly released and let loose. To be continued...