If you ever wanted to write up a transfer story tailor made for me, it’d be this one. Both the Gazzetta dello Sport and Il Messaggero report that Roma and Napoli’s talks to sign Amadou Diawara and Kostas Manolas are at an advanced stage, though there are conflicting reports on how both clubs will go about this deal.
The Gazzetta claims Roma and Napoli are working on a straightforward cash-plus-player-exchange to meet Kostas Manolas’ 36 million euro transfer fee. While Il Messagero reports the two deals to be totally separate, so that Roma can land Diawara after July 1st and put his transfer fee towards next year’s annual budget.
Greek defender Manolas is said to be all-on-board with going to Napoli either way, after having agreed a wage of 4 million euros a season that would nearly double his current Roma salary. Good on you Kostas, and have a good career.
Truthfully, the Manolas deal is only as good as who Roma sign to replace him, and we’ll likely have to wait a few weeks to see who that’ll be.
In the meantime, there’s a midfield prodigy to talk about: Amadou Diawara. The one that got away.
Roma Haggling Napoli Over Amadou Diawara Evaluation
Back when a teenage Diawara made waves at Bologna, Roma were just a whisker away from signing the midfield talent under Walter Sabatini. The Italian national team were just a hair away from convincing Diawara to turn oriundo. But, in the end, neither Roma nor Italy got their man.
Roma crashed out of the Champions League qualifiers against Porto during that summer of 2016, ending any hope of a Sabatini last-minute August signing, as Diawara went off to Napoli for a 15 million euro transfer fee instead.
Now 21 years of age, Diawara is currently valued between 18-20 million euros by the Partenopei. If the Gazzetta’s version of the deal is to be believed, Roma are working on Napoli fronting up as much cash as possible for Manolas by trying to work Diawara’s evaluation down. It’s reported that Roma value Diawara at around 10 million euros.
While Napoli’s midfielder has seen his playing time lessen since Maurizio Sarri left the Partenopei bench, Diawara still possesses every tool in his arsenal that’d make a Fonseca/Sarri-esque coach want the kid in their midfield.
Diawara plays like he has eyes in the back of his head, constantly aware of what’s around him as he receives the ball; he can play defence-splitting long-range passes both on the ground and over the top, while his close-control on the ball means opponents struggle to close him down in possession before he evades them. You simply don’t know whether you can push up on Diawara on the ball or stand off him. From his bunker deep in the heart of midfield, he has the tools to make you regret whatever move you make against him.
If this is the way Roma’s incoming transfer campaign is kicking off for the summer of 2019 - low-budget, common sense signings that fit the team identity, Serie A-proven talent - I’m looking forward to more of the same.