Winter transfer rumors are a bit like the United States Presidential Election; the cycle begins earlier and earlier each time around. I'm not touching the latter with a ten-foot pole, but while it will never rival its summer cousin, the winter rumor mill started churning out some pretty juicy stories before we even hit Halloween. And since we've already dissected a few of these rumors, we might as well continue swimming in the deep end.
If the early tone of these stories is any indication, the Roma rumor mill will focus on the forwards, a source of increasing frustration for the Giallorossi. With four goals in the season's first month, Edin Dzeko hit the ground running, seemingly putting his struggles from last year behind him, but the well has run dry since then, as Dzeko has not scored since September 29th. And, not surprisingly, Roma's attack has struggled in kind, scoring one goal or less in six of their last nine matches.
Throw Nikola Kalinic's injury into the mix and it's not hard to see why Roma might be interested in acquiring a new striker. And as we discussed throughout the week, there are two intriguing options reportedly available once the transfer window opens.
Earlier this week, we ran through the highs and lows of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the speculative add of Nicolo Zaniolo's BFF, Moise Kean, who is looking to put his Everton nightmare behind him already. Each of these speculative plays centers on the player’s respective abilities to score goals in bunches, something Roma's struggling attack desperately needs.
With the footballing world pausing for Euro 2020 qualification, the rumor mill is working overtime, giving us notable updates on each of these stories.
First up, Zlatan himself.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is demanding €1m per month to return to #SerieA , reports La Repubblica, with #ACMilan , #Bologna , #ASRoma , #Napoli and #Fiorentina interested https://t.co/gx7w4v94yx #MUFC #MLS #LAGalaxy pic.twitter.com/iB3NDkWUQh— footballitalia (@footballitalia) November 16, 2019
At 38-years-old and almost two years removed from European play, Zlatan hasn't lost an ounce of confidence. With a handful of Italian clubs interested in his services (and possibly even Manchester United), Zlatan has reportedly set a price point: €1 million per month. Assuming he signs on for a six month hitch, that's a cool €6 million, a fee that is sure to make any club hesitate.
At that price, you'd have to be awfully confident that Zlatan could at least reach double figures before the end of May, otherwise you're making a huge investment in what Zlatan has done rather than what he might do. It's a notable (and expensive) distinction.
Milan are hoping they can knock that down to €4 million, but even at that slightly reduced cost, I have trouble seeing Roma getting involved, or even Milan for that matter, who would have to offload several players, including Franck Kessie, before even broaching the Zlatan subject. And yet, somehow, Bologna are leading the pack.
Zlatan's MLS salary is roughly equivalent to €6 million gross, which, if we assume a 50% tax rate, would be about €3 million net. Pro-rate that for six months and you'd be looking at €1.5 million for half a season of Zlatan, a far more palatable figure and one any club fighting relegation or chasing the Champions League should be happy to pay.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have the 19-year-old Kean, who is looking to erase his Premiership mistake asap by returning to Italy this winter. While Milan took the lead initially, they were reportedly not interested in Mino Raiola's terms, preferring to wait for Juve's Mario Mandzukic.
And into that void steps Roma:
According to the CdS, Gianluca Petrachi is bringing Kean to Rome on an initial six-month loan with option to buy, reportedly in the neighborhood of €23 million. While they didn't speculate on the initial loan cost, one would assume Everton wouldn't close the deal without getting somewhat close to the €27.5 million they paid for Kean—under this scenario we're assuming he hasn't earned the €2.5 million in bonuses.
Whether Roma move for Zlatan, Kean or someone else entirely, we have about a month before we can even consider these rumors a reality. Still, these are two pretty exciting and intriguing options, so we'll provide updates as they become available.
Which striker would help Roma more over the next six months?
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