Roma’s January hunt for a number two striker continues, as Gianluca Petrachi reportedly studies a move for Genoa and Italy U-21 striker Andrea Pinamonti. Truthfully, any January transfer activity from Roma looks fanciful without major outgoing sales to balance the books (or that Friedkin money). As if to complicate the situation even further for Roma, Pinamonti finds himself in a convoluted series of transfer clauses at current club Genoa.
Yesterday we reported the rumour that Roma were after SPAL striker Andrea Petagna. And in fairness to Jimmy, he’s been right more times when I’ve been wrong about these sorts of rumours, but that move had all the looks of a SPAL-manufactured transfer story. Today, both the Gazzetta dello Sport (via RomaNews) and Il Messaggero report that Paulo Fonseca had told Roma sporting director Petrachi that, despite SPAL’s willingness to shop the striker around, Fonseca considers Petagna unsuitable for his football. And who can blame him?
Evidently, if you can’t bring out the best in a (formerly) proven Serie A-hitman like Nikola Kalinic then you won’t fancy the task of converting Petagna’s penalties and deflected shots into Olimpico gold. More palpable is the name of Andrea Pinamonti.
The 20-year striker is considered one of the best talents of his generation, and has proven himself a stone-cold killer in the box at every level except the very top where, admittedly, Pinamonti himself has proven me a mug once more.
Goals for the Italy U-19s, goals this season for the Italy U-21s, and goals against lower league opposition in this season’s Coppa Italia; Pinamonti has scored everywhere. Yet the Italian striker finds regular goalscoring in Serie A still eludes him. Tough luck for me, since I backed Pinamonti to become Capocannoniere this season.
Genoa had big plans this year - plans which have now stuttered under the weight of Pinamonti’s paltry 2 goals and 1 assists in 14 games. And you don’t have to dig too deep in your memory to guess which club Pinamonti scored his Serie A brace against, but the brakes have slammed on his form ever since that season-opener against Roma.
Since then, Genoa have fired Andrea Andreazzoli and brought in former player-turned-manager Thiago Motta.
Motta is reportedly unimpressed with Pinamonti’s ability to cut it at this level, and is ready to cut the kid loose elsewhere in January. Yet more than one obstacle stands in the way of a Pinamonti move to Roma this winter.
First, Pinamonti himself has continued to rise up the ranks with the Nazionale. His scoring form for Italy hasn’t wavered this season and, this month, Pinamonti has outright stated his goal is to have a shot at breaking into the Italy senior team. How does he help his chances of doing that if he’s sitting on a bench for Edin Dzeko?
Second, Pinamonti is on a loan-to-buy deal at Genoa after moving from former club Inter. While Genoa are forced to make his deal permanent for 18 million euros by the summer of 2020, it’s widely believed that Pinamonti was only let go by Inter coach Antonio Conte on a gentleman’s agreement that Inter could buy him back anytime. Do Roma really want to take a youth prospect on loan for the sake of developing him until he’s got his heart set on playing for Inter once more?
It’s clear that Petrachi will have to throw around some weight to make this deal anywhere near worthwhile for Roma. Like fronting Genoa their 18 million euros so the Grifone can make good on their deal with Inter, while talking Pinamonti out of severing ties up North for good.
Where will the Giallorossi get the money for that? Where does Edin Dzeko forward Petrachi’s phone calls to when Roma try to break the news that Dzeko might see less playing time? All unsolved mysteries in Roma’s winter mercato ahead.