“We need a central defender above all else,” were Paulo Fonseca’s words after the friendly 3-1 victory away to Perugia. You’d think that would mean Roma are stepping the gas on transfer targets, but the steady flow of news over the last week has never moved from the Giallorosso interest in that man Toby Alderweireld.
Sky Sport Italia’s latest report (tweet below) is that Alderweireld’s agents are pushing for an agreement to be found between Roma and Tottenham Hotspur; this matches reports earlier this week from Gazzetta dello Sport, SportItalia and every major Italian football title on the web.
Between all these sites, the consistent picture reported is one of Roma securing ‘agreements’ from everyone over this move: Alderweireld’s father, his agents, maybe even Toby’s pet goldfish (if he has any). The motive for this is obvious. Aside from Toby getting to wear Roma’s beautiful kits, the Belgian would land himself a substantial payrise thanks to Serie A’s new 2020 tax breaks.
So Roma have gotten a ‘Yes’ from everyone except Spurs themselves and, well... that’s an important piece of the puzzle left to chance. Could this be Riyad Mahrez all over again?
For some reason, Roma aren’t shaken from the belief they can haggle Premier League clubs from (in Premier League terms) basic prices. Sky Sport Italia’s Angelo Mangiante claims that Tottenham have been clear all along: the minimum acceptable transfer fee to secure Alderweireld is 28 million euros and not a penny less.
Agenti di #Alderweireld spingono per accordo, ma il #Tottenham e' stato chiaro e a quella cifra (circa €28M) la #Roma non vuole prendere un giocatore che ha già compiuto 30 anni.— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) August 2, 2019
Il giocatore piace molto, ma non a quelle condizioni. @SkySport #THFC #COYS #SkyCalciomercato pic.twitter.com/OyCn0irduM
For Roma, this represents a substantial risk for a 30-year-old defender, albeit a shoe-in for the Giallorossi starting lineup if the Belgian international should come to the Italian capital. For Spurs, the fee represents no more than some renovations to their new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium dressing room, a payrise for the groundskeeper, and the spare change in Daniel Levy’s boardroom cigar-holder.
If Gianluca Petrachi and Franco Baldini clinch this deal, they come off looking great for upgrading the defence to the best it’s been on paper in years. But if they don’t? Totti help their alternative targets. Because whichever defender walks in, after a botched Toby summer saga, will have to live with the speculation around why Roma spent all summer-long getting them aboard instead. Waiting until August to solidify the backline is already bad form as it is.
Maybe Roma should move on those players sales, and get to coughing up the 28 million euros for Toby while they still can. But you can understand Petrachi’s dilemma in doing so.
Roma’s transfer guru would be securing Alderweireld at an annual budget cost of (potentially) over 10 milllion a season, depending on contract length and wages, and that may (or may not) be the difference between securing a top striker elsewhere or having to settle for Alderweireld and nothing else.
It’s becoming more unlikely that Roma can have their cake and eat it this summer. But what’s new? We’ve seen and been through worse.
How should Gianluca Petrachi complete the Roma squad this summer?
This poll is closed
Sign Alderweireld at all cost and recall Umar Sadiq to play up front.
Forget Alderweireld. Re-sign Norbert Gyomber at the back and splash the cash on Mauro Icardi.
Mirko Antonucci will save us all.