The transfer rumor barrage continues. Just yesterday, when speaking about Kostas Manolas’ impending move to Napoli, one that would see Amadou Diawara come along in a separate we deal, we spoke of the subsequent corresponding moves. That is to say, with one defender going out, another is likely to come, while Diawara joining up likely means one of Roma's current midfielders will be given the boot. Earlier today we spoke about Steven Nzonzi's likely move to Lyon, so for now we'll focus on the man tasked with taking Manolas’ place not only on the pitch but in the hearts and minds of Roma fans the world over.
The very early rumors focused largely on Sampdoria's Joachim Andersen, and while he may still be a possibility, Roma haven't made any formal inroads with Andersen or his reps. One player they have taken such steps with is Real Betis centerback Marc Bartra.
All your standard Serie A rags have picked up on this story, but it appears as though Roma's reps have set a lunch meeting with Bartra's agents to discuss a possible move to the Eternal City.
Bartra, 28-years-old, came up through the Barcelona ranks, and spent parts of seven seasons with the Catalan club before moving to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016 on a €8 million move. Bartra would spend only two campaigns with BvB before to Betis in January of 2018.
As you can see from the clips above, Bartra cuts a much less imposing figure than the more muscular Manolas, but Bartra seems to be much more skilled on the ball and plays with more intuition than brute force. However, Bartra is no slouch when it comes to the nitty-gritty aspects of defending, as evidenced by his 8.9 defensive actions (tackles, clearances, INTs and blocks) per game last season with Betis; those are obviously subject to a host of factors, but Bartra isn't afraid to get his nose dirty.
So when we talk about the possession-based football of which Fonseca is so fond, a slick, intelligent and ball-playing centerback is essential to success, and Bartra profiles as exactly that type of player.
And at a rumored cost of €15 to €20 million, Gianluca Petrachi won't necessarily have to break the bank either. Marc Bartra may not be a big name, but he might be an ideal name for Roma's new coach.
What a novel concept.