Roma and Sassuolo. Sassuolo and Roma (my mind is playing the "Einhorn and Finkle, Finkle and Einhorn" quote from Ace Ventura Pet Detective right now, still one of the best comedies ever. Jim Carrey is God). They’re quickly becoming best friends. It’s no secret both teams share a good/great understanding. The player carousel between the two teams hasn’t stopped since 2015 or so.
In fact, Roma even brought it to the next level last season, moving on from players and going for the big guns Roma snatched away Sassuolo’s succesful trainer, Eusebio Di Francesco, after Spalletti opted to join the Dark Side in Milan. Di Francesco, the man that led the Neroverdi to Serie A and even Europe. Last Summer was the love explosion, the climax of this relationship, as not only EDF but also Defrel and Pellegrini moved to Rome in the same transfer window.
In the past there were Mazzitelli, Politano, Marchizza, Frattesi, Antei, Ricci,... Numerous deals have been concluded by the green and red side since Sassuolo made its debut in Serie A in 2013. In most cases Sassuolo acts as a feeder club for Roma, to let young talents grow. Sometimes it pans out (Pellegrini, Ricci or Politano, who is now fully owned by Sass), sometimes it’s a misfit (Marchizza still has zero games for the Neroverdi while Mazzitelli was sporadically used).
Speaking of misfits... While Roma usually is more picky concerning players from Sassuolo, the Defrel transfer hasn’t been a succes so far. Defrel had decent stats before joining Roma, where he only scored one goal in ten months. Ironically Defrel’s transfer was the most lucrative deal of all, sadly also the one in which Roma got robbed. Well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s life.
Hiring coach Di Francesco was a winner though. The former Roma midfielder guided the Giallorossi to their first ever Champions League semifinal and secured a top 3 spot, behind a far superior Juve and Napoli who both finished in the league with 90+ points. That was almost an impossible task for Eusebio. Yet, his rotation, press conferences and team spirit have impressed the fans and management.
So yeah, there have been a couple of small wounds in this love story, but they’re not deep enough to blow up all bridges. On the contrary, Monchi is still keeping a close eye on Sassuolo. After Pellegrini, EDF has his mind set on another jewel from the Neroverdi: Domenico Berardi. And Politano could slot in EDF’s system perfectly as well. He could be tempted to return to his hometown club instead of joining Milan or Napoli.
Berardi also was a hot topic in Rome last Summer, when EDF and Monchi just started their partnership at Rome. Pellegrini returned and Defrel was bought, but perhaps the biggest talent of all stayed at Sassuolo. His price tag was too high back then, but after a rather disappointing 2017-2018 (4 goals in 30 games), that sum has dropped to a more realistic amount. One that could surely tempt Monchi to make an official offer.
Between 2013 and 2016 Berardi was a total stud in Serie A, but his production has stagnated a bit the last two seasons. However, form is temporary, class is eternal. Italian international, promising, experienced, not yet in his prime, what’s not to be loved? Whoever gets Berardi, gets a good deal. If the price is right and justifiable of course. Plus, Roma already has a trainer that can motivate him and bring the best out of him.
Politano and Berardi are not the only candidates to enter the hall of famous Roma-Sassuolo Deals. Acerbi and Consigli can be seen as perfect options on Roma’s bench (and raise our Italian quota) while Antonucci could turn into Sassuolo’s next Politano in the upcoming season. Loaning out Tumminello to Sassuolo may the best move of the Summer for both teams.
It’s pretty clear the carousel won’t stop here. t looks like there are more deals on the horizon and the love story will continue. Also in 2018 Roma and Sassuolo will sit around the table (maybe they already did) and discuss players, wages etc.
Only question remains is: Who’s next?
Best deal between Roma and Sassuolo so far?
This poll is closed
Lorenzo Pellegrini (Midfield maestro)
Eusebio Di Francesco (CL semifinal, duh)
Defrel (Hey, he’ll come good eventually, like Dzeko)
Selling Marchizza and Frattesi for 8m
I think the best is yet to come (Berardi, Politano,...)