With Antonio Mirante continuing to start in goal, it’s pretty safe to say that the Robin Olsen project is officially dead. The big Swede has failed to live up to expectations after Monchi was suckered into buying high after a superb World Cup. With Roma all but admitting failure by benching Olsen, the rumor mill has begun churning just a little bit harder. Just a few days ago, bren reported on one of the other names currently making its rounds around the rumor mill; that of Empoli’s Bartłomiej Drągowski.
While that one seems to be the flavor of the week, the one name that has circled back over and over this season is Alessio Cragno; who will just happen to be in the opposition net on Saturday at the Olimpico. Keep a close eye on the kid, especially if the most recent rumors hold water, you could be watching the next man protecting Roma’s net.
On Tuesday, Corriere dello Sport reported that Roma will continue its ‘Made in Italy’ facelift by targeting Cragno and Brescia’s Sandro Tonali this off season. While Tonali is a name on many teams’ radar, I’m going to focus on Cragno.
According to the report, Cragno’s agent has spoken to Massara multiple times about the possibility of Cragno making a move to Roma. Because of this, the agent is taking his time in deciding whether or not his client should accept a new contract from Cagliari that would include a release clause. Meanwhile, the player feels ready to make the jump to a big club and will push for the transfer.
The Italian shot stopper has been repeatedly linked with Roma this season for good reason. Cragno fits the young, Italian profile that Roma has begun to build around in recent seasons. On top of that the Cagliari man has really hit his stride this season, earning a call-up to the senior national team for the Euro 2022 qualifiers. Cragno has been one of the best keepers in Serie A this season, earning an average player rating of 7.05 on whoscored; the highest average for any keeper. He also earned Man of the Match seven times, while playing in all 33 of Cagliari’s matches.
So, what would it take for Roma to land Cragno? If the Corriere reports are accurate then Cagliari’s asking price will be in the €20 million range. On the surface that seems like a steep price for a keeper when so many positions needs to be addressed. However, it’s unlikely Roma would actually be parting with that much cash in a deal for Cragno.
The likely solution would be to bring the price down by offering Cagliari players in return. The first name on the list would be a player already on loan at Cagliari, Luca Pellegrini. Roma could keep Pellegrini in Sardinia for another season or two, while still retaining his rights by inserting a buyback clause into the deal; much like the one that saw Lorenzo Pellegrini go to Sassuolo for two seasons. Two other youngsters that could be used as makeweights (likely on loan) in the deal are Alessio Riccardi and Zan Celar.
A deal of this sort could benefit Roma in both the short and long term. In the short term, Roma would get itself a quality keeper for next season without paying full asking price. In the long term, the Giallorossi would have a keeper for years to come, while at the same time some of the jewels of its youth set-up would get valuable Serie A experience before returning to the cauldron that is the Italian Capital. To me it’s a move that just seems to make too much sense for Ricky Massara not to make.