While not quite as closely documented, Roma's search for a second central defender almost rivals their pursuit of a new striker. Almost. After selling Kostas Manolas to Napoli earlier this summer, Roma suddenly had a job opening next to Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus, and while the signing of Gianluca Mancini at least gave Roma another starter, for the sake of increased depth and improved quality common sense dictated they needed another option in central defense.
Unlike their striker search, there hasn't been any one name in particular Roma have been pursuing, but rather a hodgepodge of names, young and old, either looking for a last go of it (Dejan Lovren) or hoping to make a name for themselves at a larger club (Walter Kannemann). Sitting somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is Juventus’ Daniele Rugani, the Old Lady's 25-year-old center back.
Rugani, who has been with Juve's senior team for four seasons now since returning from a loan spell with Empoli, has seen his career take a bit of a hit over the past 18 months or so. Once seen as the future of Juventus’ backline, the one who would usher in the post-BBC era, Rugani has struggled with form and has never eclipsed more than 2,000 league minutes in a Juve shirt.
Thanks in part to some passive, inconsistent play and poor decision making, Rugani has gone from the future of Juve's defense to a bit player, destined for another season on the periphery behind Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and newcomers Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.
All of which has led to a parting of ways between Rugani and Juventus, one that nearly came to fruition when Rugani was inches away from an Arsenal move last week. Ultimately the two sides couldn't come to an agreement over the structure of the deal, with Arsenal offering a two-year loan and Juve preferring a definitive purchase option, and the deal collapsed just as England's transfer window closed.
However, it appears as though the Gunner's loss may be Roma's gain. According to multiple sources, Roma are making ground on a Rugani transfer. Both the Corriere dello Sport and the Gazzetta dello Sport claim Rugani to Roma could happen early this week. Per those reports, Roma would take Rugani on a one-year loan with a €25 million mandatory option to buy, with the player being handed a Petrachi Special a/k/a, a €3 million salary.
Now, make no mistake, this isn't the same Rugani who left Empoli five years ago, the kid who had the world at his feet—Rugani has some serious flaws in need of addressing—but if they're willing to invest €25 million in him, Roma clearly see Rugani as a gamble worth taking.
At 25-years-old, Daniele Rugani is just entering his prime athletic years, and at a cost of €3 million per season (if true), Roma better hope this change of scenery yields immediate results.