Roma are a club known for many things—pride, passion, tradition—and with players like Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Juan, Philippe Mexes and Alessandro Florenzi, among others, devoting years of their lives to the club, there was always a fair amount of stability in the Eternal City, but that continuity seldom extended into goal. In the past decade alone, Roma has seen a parade of starting keepers come and go. Ranging from Doni to Marten Stekelenburg to Mauro Goicoechea to Morgan De Sanctis to Wojciech Szczesny to Alisson to Robin Olsen, the Giallorossi have gone through their fair share of keepers gloves over the past ten years.
And thanks to the underwhelming performance of the last name on that list, Roma once again found themselves in the market for a new keeper this summer. After keeping their search on the DL for several weeks, Roma have finally found their man, bringing 24-year-old Pau Lopez into the fold.
This time of year we live in a world of rumors and speculation, but barring the de rigueur scarf photo, it doesn't get much more definitive than that. That, my friends, is Pau Lopez leaving Real Betis training camp, walking leisurely towards the car-park in his black jorts, luggage in hand as he heads to Rome for his medical examination ahead of his near €30 million move.
We say near because, if the reports prove true, Roma will pay €20 million plus their remaining rights (or the renunciation of their portion of his sell-on fee) to Antonio Sanabria to acquire Lopez. It's a bit of a convoluted deal, but the total value of the deal should approach €30 million: €20 million for Lopez and €7.5 million for Sanabria's portion, who Roma sold to Betis in the summer of 2016, who then summarily loaned him to Genoa.
It’s a shame Sanabria never got a chance with Roma, but his added €7.5 million to this deal makes Lopez the most expensive keeper in club history, and when you add the €10 million or so they spent on Olsen last year, Roma have invested nearly €40 million keepers over the past two seasons.
Considering all of that, Lopez's Roma career will start off with a healthy bit of skepticism, but as we profiled last week, his component skills are incredibly...incredibly...intriguing. If Roma's currently under construction back line can provide him safe cover to begin the season, Lopez should hit the ground running.
We've seen how transformative a top keeper can be, and if Lopez can harness those skills and adapt to Fonseca's tactics, he could be a game changer for Roma.