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Loan Report: Checking in With Olsen, Schick, Karsdorp and More

You may have forgotten some of these guys remained under contract.

RB Leipzig - Bavaria Munich Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

As much as we focus on Roma's new recruits every summer, the guys heading the other way often have more impact on the bottom line. While it makes sense to get excited about transfers—new players are exciting and full of possibilities—the extent to which Roma can unburden themselves of redundant players and onerous contracts necessarily influences how much freedom they have to tinker with the squad down the road.

The problem for Roma, particularly during the Monchi era, was the pace with which these new and exciting faces became anchors, dragging Roma down on the pitch and in the balance books. Roma currently has at least a half dozen Monchi signings out on loan, and since we're stuck in the doldrums of the international break, what better time to check in with them than now?

Robin Olsen

AS Roma v Cagliari - Serie A Photo by Federica Roselli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Loan: Cagliari (full-season)

Contract: Signed through June 2023

We'll start with arguably Monchi's most controversial signing, the now 29-year-old Swedish keeper, Robin Olsen. While Roma definitely fell prey to the World Cup spell, Olsen probably wasn't as bad as we recall last season, but his indecisiveness and passive play bit Roma in the ass more than once.

Antonio Mirante did a fine job filling in for Olsen, but Roma wasted little time finding a long-term replacement, making Pau Lopez one of the most expensive keepers of all-time this past summer. With that hefty transfer fee in the books, Gianluca Petrachi scoured the continent trying to find a new home for Olsen before settling on Cagliari on August 30th.

Olsen originally seemed to doom to second choice again, but once Alessio Cragno hurt his shoulder, Olsen assumed the starting spot, and quite frankly has done a damn fine job. In 11 appearances, Olsen has conceded 11 goals while keep three clean sheets, helping the Islanders in their unexpected Champions League chase.

Olsen has been a surprising story no doubt, but Cragno remains Cagliari's keeper of the future, and with three more years on his deal, Roma will once again be shopping Olsen this summer. If, however, he can keep up this pace Roma should have no trouble finding a permanent home for Olsen.

Patrik Schick

RB Leipzig - Bavaria Munich Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with RB Leipzig

Contract: Signed through June 2022

Unlike Olsen, Patrik Schick was given a chance to impress Paulo Fonseca this summer, sticking with the club throughout their entire summer program. Needless to say, despite seeming like a Fonseca player, Schick didn't cut the mustard and was loaned to Leipzig on September 2nd.

A move to the Bundesliga seemed like a golden opportunity for Schick, and, well, it's been anything but. It’s currently November 12th and Schick has played all of 27 minutes this season. Thanks to a series of ankle injuries, Schick has missed 10 league games and with no clear return on the horizon, Roma's soon to be €42 million man (come February) seems like he's facing yet another lost season.

At this point, Roma seems destined to take a huge hit on this deal, but Schick is still only 23-years-old, and while we shouldn’t write him off just yet, time is running short.

Expect him back next summer.

Steven Nzonzi

Real Madrid v Galatasaray: Group A - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with Galatasaray

Contract: Signed through June 2022

Another one of Monchi's huge swings and misses, Nzonzi's Roma struggles had more to do with his ill-fit with EDFs tactics than it did his actual skill, but Petrachi wasted little time in finding a temporary home for his World Cup winner, shipping Nzonzi off to Turkey in mid-August.

While I'm not exactly up on the Turkish league, Nzonzi seems to be settling in well, logging over 1,000 minutes between domestic and European play, where he's attempting in vain to make Galatasary look good compared to PSG and Real Madrid.

I'm still curious to see how Nzonzi would fare in a different tactical set-up, but he's probably a step too slow for Fonseca Football as well, so unless Galatasary exercise their €16 million option, expect to see his smiling face around Trigoria next summer.

He's a solid player, but Rome was never the right fit for him.

Maxime Gonalons

Granada CF v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with Granada

Contract: Signed through June 2021

After their experiences with Nzonzi and Gonalons, let's hope Roma hit the pause button next time they consider signing a French defensive midfielder. Gonalons, much like Nzonzi, wasn't nearly as bad for Roma as we remember, he was just another awkward fit.

After spending last season on loan with Sevilla, Roma opted to keep Gonalons in Spain, loaning him to Granada for the 2019-2020 season. For his part, Gonalons has made seven La Liga appearances for Granada.

With only one year remaining on his deal beyond this season, Roma will have to endure one more can-we-find-a-club-for-him cycle before bidding Gonalons adieu.

Gregoire Defrel

US Sassuolo v SPAL - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with Sassuolo

Contract: Signed through June 2022

Oh man. I don't know where to begin with this one. This was a Monchi signing that (sort of) made sense. Defrel's best seasons where under EDF at Sassuolo, so bringing him to the capital had a certain logic to it: he knew EDFs system and experienced some success under his guidance, so why wouldn't he replicate that with Roma?

The competition for minutes was stiffer with Roma than it was with Sassuolo, but EDF didn't do him any favors, constantly playing him out of position during his lone season with Roma, in which he logged roughly 600 minutes.

Defrel seemed to find his form last season with Sampdoria, scoring 11 goals and chipping in 3 assists in league play, but is once again struggling, managing only one goal through eight appearances with Sassuolo.

Defrel has over 40 Serie A goals to his credit, so the guy can definitely play in this league, but moving to Roma was perhaps the worst move he could have made. The pressure of his 20+ million deal and the competition for minutes damned him before the season even began.

Roma will never recoup the millions they spent on him, so expect another parade of loans before Defrel hopefully finds a firm landing space where he can shine.

Rick Karsdorp

UEFA Europa League”Feyenoord Rotterdam v BSC Young Boys”

Loan: Full-season with Feyenoord

Contract: Signed through June 2022

In some ways Rick Karsdorp's Roma career was doomed from the start. Signed for €19 million in the summer of 2017, Karsdorp had the size, athleticism, skill, and neck tattoos to be a rousing success with Roma. There was just one problem. He was hurt. When Roma signed him. For €19 million.

Already dealing with a meniscus injury when he signed with the club, Karsdorp began his Roma career behind a pretty sizable eight ball, one that became damn near immovable once he tore the ACL in his opposite knee in October of 2017.

Karsdorp would claw his way back to fitness but never really got a foothold with Roma, making only a handful of appearances the following season due to a litany of muscular injuries.

With a new coach in tow and new fullbacks to compete with, a loan was certainly on the docket, but I'm not sure many of us expected him to return to Feyenoord. Karsdorp wasted no time hailing the more hospitable atmosphere in Rotterdam, but after a solid start to the season...he's hurt again.

Karsdorp is the final member of the 2022 crew ( along with Olsen, Nzonzi, and Schick) and will likely be the hardest to offload—no one in their right mind would pay nearly €20 million for a guy with his injury history.

No one but Monchi that is...give him a call!

Zan Celar

Empoli FC v AS Cittadella - Serie B Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with Cittadella

Contract: Signed through June 2023

From dazzling play makers to silky forwards and everything in between, Roma has seen her fair share of impressive Primavera prospects over the years, but I'm not sure we've ever seen a transformation quite like Zan Celar's. Initially seen as an intriguing curiosity, Celar would soon shoot up the ranks of U23 prospects thanks to his incredible nose for goal.

Between league play and UEFA's youth competitions, Celar poured in 43 goals and chipped in seven assists in little more than 50 appearances over the past two years, culminating with his first appearance with the senior team last season. With his blend of size, strength, scoring and play-making, we tipped Celar as our 10th rated U23 prospect, dubbing him the next (albeit slightly smaller) Edin Dzeko.

With no immediate place on Paulo Fonseca's squad, Celar was sent on loan with Serie B outfit Cittadella. While Celar isn't replicating his scoring clip from the youth ranks, with three goals in nine appearances (league and Coppa Italia), Celar is doing well enough to remain on Roma's radar.

If Celar can cement a place in Cittadella's lineup as the season progresses, a Serie A loan would seem like the next logical step. He is not, however, an immediate replacement or complement to Edin Dzeko, so don't get your hopes up just yet. All in do time.

Ante Coric

Malaga v UD Almeria - La Liga SmartBank
That's him on the right
Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images

Loan: Full-season with UD Almeria (Spanish 2nd Division)

Contract: Through June 2023

Remember this kid? The one hailed as the next Luka Modric coming out of Dinamo Zagreb two years ago? Well, he's still just 22-years-old and still on Roma's payroll for another three seasons beyond this one.

Coric's young career, much like Salih Ucan before him, was woefully mismanaged by Roma, who left him to rot on the bench last season rather than loaning him out. Coric's debut season with Roma amounted to three appearances totaling 48 minutes in all competitions.

As a result, Roma had to search far and wide to find a new home for Coric before settling on Almeria, who currently sit in third place in the Segunda. And, dare I say it, he's doing alright. In 10 appearances (four starts), Coric has logged 437 minutes contributing two assists, which may not seem like much, but Almeria has only scored 14 league goals thus far.

At 22-years-old, this is sort of it for Coric; it’s make or break. If he flourishes this season, he could be in line for another crack at the top flight. If not, then, well it might be MLS time for young Coric.

We'll check back in with each of these players throughout the year, but for now give us your best guess: will any of these players make a mark with Roma?


Which one of these players has the best chance to make their mark with Roma?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Robin Olsen
    (26 votes)
  • 18%
    Patrik Schick
    (123 votes)
  • 2%
    Steven Nzonzi
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Maxime Gonalons
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Rick Karsdorp
    (27 votes)
  • 58%
    Zan Celar
    (384 votes)
  • 1%
    Gregoire Defrel
    (9 votes)
  • 10%
    Ante Coric
    (70 votes)
659 votes total Vote Now