The dawn of a new season is upon us, but with almost a week-and-a-half remaining in the summer transfer window, don't expect the rumor cycle to slow down anytime soon. In fact, expect the opposite; it's going to be nuts. By now, everyone in the league knows what Roma needs—a center back, a reserve striker and to shed more of Monchi's misfits—so while the papers likely won't deviate from that script, expect updates to come fast and furious over the next nine days.
We'll try our best to address the credible ones in depth, but for now let's take a quick whip around the rumor mill to get you caught up.
Just when you thought this rumor had died, Daniele Rugani to Roma rises like a Phoenix from Arizona. Some 48 to 72 hours ago it seemed like Rugani to Roma was all but a formality, to the point where he was rumored to have even selected a shirt number—six, which, you know, was retired for Aldair and then unretired for Kevin Strootman and presumably re-retired once Strootman was sold off to Marseilles—but Juventus’ insistence that Roma include Alessio Riccardi AND Zan Celar in the deal, pushing the total value near €40 million, seemed to put the kibosh on this controversial make believe move.
And just when it seemed that Roma were once again bending over backwards to help Juventus, Gianluca Petrachi pulled out of the deal, reportedly deeming the demands excessive. But, as these things so often go, the negotiations press on, with Petrachi reportedly set to resume talks with his Juve counterpart on Monday.
Should Rugani prove a bridge too far, Roma will look to Torino defender Nicolas N’Koulou, though Petrachi's icy relationship with his former employer could make this a difficult negotiation. RomaPress also adds that Dejan Lovren remains in the mix, which, if they can grab him on a dry loan, might be our best bet at this stage in the game.
While purchasing new players is a challenge for any director of sport, getting rid of dead weight often ends up being the most difficult mountain to climb, one to which no club is immune; look at Juve's struggles to shed Rugani, Mandzukic and Khedira. For Petrachi, finding suitable homes for Monchi's Misfits has proven exceedingly difficult this summer, as he's only been able to offload Steven Nzonzi on a temporary basis.
Gregoire Defrel wasn't quite as expensive as Nzonzi, but in some ways his transfer was even more disastrous and confusing. Nzonzi wasn't perfect but Roma at least managed to squeeze out over 3,000 minutes (all comps) from the World Cup champion. Defrel, not so much. In his lone season in the capital, Defrel managed only 480 Serie A minutes in the 2017-2018 campaign, serving as a surprising outcast for EDF, the man under whom he had arguably his greatest professional success.
Roma did manage to find Defrel a suitable home last season in Sampdoria, where he scored 11 goals in 36 appearances, but have struggled thus far to replicate that success this summer. And, well, it turns out all they had to do was call up Samp again. According to multiple sources, Defrel will return to Sampdoria on an initial €1 million loan with a €13.5 million obligation to buy the Frenchman next June.
This one will always flummox me. Granted they didn't really need him, but that he was deemed so useless by EDF after sharing so much success together at Sassuolo was shocking, and now he’s set to reunite with Di Francesco again...only in Italy, right?
Coric to Slum in Spanish Second Division
Next Luka Modric, my ass. Sarcasm aside, you have to feel sorry for this kid, right? He’s just another example of a young kid who moved to a big club too soon—in this instance Roma are a proportionally bigger club. While not quite as extreme as the Malcom to Barcelona fiasco, the tinges are the same; neither were ready for that move at that stage in their career.