Roma has never had the best track record buying goalkeepers after a good World Cup. Long-time Romanisti will remember the trials and travails of having Maarten Stekelenburg between the sticks (if not, here’s a refresher), and it looks like Robin Olsen is going to join Stekelenburg as another arguably-good goalkeeper chewed up by A.S. Roma. It probably hasn’t helped the Swede’s case for continued employment in Rome that he hasn’t learned Italian after nine months with the Giallorossi; in fact, reports indicate that this is one of the main reasons Claudio Ranieri has handed the #1 kit over to veteran goalie Antonio Mirante.
All of these tidbits of information point towards a larger point: Olsen is probably not long for this world, at least in terms of the world of i Lupi. You have to feel bad for him to a certain extent; nobody was going to be able to fill the shoes of Alisson Becker, so you could honestly argue that he was doomed from the start. Nevertheless, Frederic Massara is on the hunt for a new goalkeeper to take Olsen’s place as the unquestioned starter, and it appears that he may have found his man on the island of Sardinia.
Alessio Cragno has never received the rapturous press attention that Gianluigi Donnarumma or (for a time) Simone Scuffet have, but it’d be a mistake to undervalue his current ability or potential. At age 24 (still a baby by goalkeeper standards), the Florentine shot-stopper has racked up 68 Serie A appearances, with his first-ever appearance in the top flight coming against Roma in a 2-0 loss for the Sardinians. Looking at his goals allowed stats doesn’t make for pretty viewing, but no goalkeeper for a bottom-of-the-table side is going to shine in that department. As such, it’s more important to look at the individual qualities on display, and both Cragno’s passing ability and shot-blocking inspire hope that he could be a good goalkeeper for a side with Champions League ambitions.
The links to Cragno have been growing for some time now, with the goalkeeper’s agent playing the “it feels good to feel wanted” game in the media:
At the end of the season, we’ll assess various situations. We can’t forget the importance of Cagliari, which is an important club with a serious project. We also can’t disregard how much the club means to Alessio. So all of these questions on the market are premature, but it’s obvious that the links to Roma please him. He’s proven to be one of the best goalkeepers in the league — the clubs will discuss numbers, but he’s one of the strongest in Europe and has an important transfer market value.
Time will tell if Cragno pulls on a Giallorossi kit this summer, but if these rumors mean anything concrete, it’s that Robin Olsen’s time at the Stadio Olimpico is probably drawing to a close. Sorry, Robin, Romanisti are a fickle bunch.