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Looking Ahead to the Summer Mercato: A Way-Too-Early Arrivals Preview

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Barring this past January mercato, Roma always tends to make at least a couple moves when the transfer market opens up. Who will become a wolf this summer?

Italy Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Roma has grown to prioritize domestic talent under Monchi’s reign. While there have been quite a few purchases from outside the Italian peninsula, the signings of Nicolo Zaniolo, Davide Santon, and Bryan Cristante show that James Pallotta has moved on from Walter Sabatini’s perpetual quest for the Next Great South American Talent. Given that, the rumor mill regarding potential summer arrivals has seen a shift as well. Yes, every now and then Monchi might snap up some young prospect like Santos’ Matheus Guedes, but in terms of big purchases, the journalists say that Roma will continue to sop up whatever Italian talent is still available.

Some of this “Make Roma Italian Again” movement probably comes down to marketability. Pallotta would certainly love to have a boatload of Italians playing for Roma by the time the Stadio Della Roma gets built, and who can blame him? However, it’s undeniable that the current crop of Italian talent coming through the Azzurrini ranks looks like it may be able to help Italy rediscover its former glory as a footballing power. These players have the goods, and if Roma is able to sign them, it can only mean good things for Romanisti.

Candidate #1: Gianluca Mancini

Atalanta BC v SPAL - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

First on the list of potential summer signings is Gianluca Mancini, a player we’ve already discussed ad nauseam here at Chiesa di Totti. Although he didn’t end up moving to the Stadio Olimpico this January, he’s still quite the player and is the type of purchase that would show the rest of Serie A that Roma means business.

Signing a player like Mancini can help Roma move forward in two different ways. First, when you also consider the barrage of transfer rumors that always seem to swirl around Kostas Manolas, it definitely makes sense to buy up more young centerback talent. Defenders typically take some time to gel with a new side, so every moment Mancini could play in Roma before a Manolas transfer could be crucial in terms of further developing Roma’s defensive integrity. Second, Mancini would be an excellent long-term replacement for the aging and slowing Federico Fazio. Fazio still has something left in the tank, but the argument can definitely be made that he should have been moved to the bench at the beginning of this season. A new starter at centerback is needed, and Mancini might just be the man for the job.

Candidate #2: Sandro Tonali

US Citta di Palermo v Brescia - Serie B Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

Sandro Tonali is another name that’s shown up quite a bit in Roma transfer rumors, but, to be fair, he’s shown up in basically every big club’s transfer rumors. The 18-year-old defensive midfielder has been lighting it up for Serie B side Brescia, garnering himself a call-up to the Italian national team and getting comparisons to our very own Daniele De Rossi. Naturally, when a potential heir to DDR shows up, you start paying attention, so it’s no surprise that Monchi has reportedly pushed Roma to the front of the line for Tonali’s services.

The biggest issue with this rumor is the potential price-tag. Brescia don’t want to let their winning lottery ticket go away for anything other than a king’s ransom (€50m, to be precise). That may be too rich for Roma’s blood, particularly if the final Champions League spot slips out of her grasp. Yet Tonali would help complete Roma’s All-Italian midfield, and that can’t be undersold. If the money is there (and it very well might be if a certain Turk is sold to the right buyer), expect some serious Monchi Moves.

Candidate #3: Luca Pellegrini

AC Milan v Cagliari - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Is this kind of cheating, considering that Luca Pellegrini is already on Roma’s books? Yes, but I wrote this article, so I get to make the rules. Despite showing some growing pains during his substitute appearances for Roma during the first half of this season, there’s a reason why Pellegrini has been labeled “a predestined one”. He has all the tools necessary to be Roma’s long-term solution at left-back, and although Aleksandar Kolarov has been excellent for Roma since 2017, a 33-year-old can beat Father Time for only so long.

Roma has done a good job as of late in giving youth products their fair chance. Whether it’s directly from the Primavera side, like Lorenzo Pellegrini, or from someone else’s Primavera, like Nicolo Zaniolo, Italian prospects have been getting their fair shake, thanks in no small part to Eusebio Di Francesco. Handing Luca Pellegrini the reigns at left-back starting this summer would be another smart move by the manager, one that would show that Pallotta’s promises of a more Roman Roma aren’t just hot air.

Who do you think Roma should go after this summer? Who do you think Roma will go after this summer? Whatever happens, rest assured that we’ll be covering the news every step of the way.