Roma's transfer deadline day was, as it turned out, a bit of dud. There was no last minute signing bringing the previously prophesied 12,000 fans to the airport (incidentally, did you see the throngs of people greeting Falcao in Turkey!?) but that's largely because Gianluca Petrachi did his last minute shopping on Sunday evening, bringing two new faces into Roma's attack while finding a temporary home for Roma's most expensive player ever.
As we discussed yesterday evening, Roma were putting the finishing touches on the Nikola Kalinic move, who was rumored to be our vice-Dzeko for the past few weeks, while also surprising the footballing world by making a move for Arsenal's Armenian attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan—his very own version of Walter Sabatini's bygone night moves.
Not one to wait, Petrachi locked up both deals well in advance of today's 22:00 CET deadline.
First up, Nikola Kalinic:
“It feels great, because I am joining a big club. I am proud to become part of this team and this club. Roma has great history and I am very happy to be here.”— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 2, 2019
- @nikolakalinic pic.twitter.com/mcz80aERz1
Kalinic, 31-years-old, comes to the capital on a one-year loan, for which Roma will pay €2 million while holding a €9 million option to make the deal permanent come June 2020. Kalinic, who has previously played in Italy for AC Milan and Fiorentina, scored over 30 goals (all comps) in two seasons for the latter. The Croatian forward has also played for Hadjuk Split, Blackburn Rovers, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and most recently Atletico Madrid.
Upon signing his new deal and donning the #19 shirt, Kalinic spoke about the club's history and admitted he was happy to join, while Petrachi shed a bit of light on how Roma will use their new striker—both as a backup and complement to Dzeko.
Joining Kalinic at new employee orientation at Trigoria will be Henrikh Mkhitaryan:
“It’s a great opportunity for me to begin a new chapter, with a great club. I know what this club is all about and I am sure we can achieve great things together.”— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 2, 2019
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan pic.twitter.com/L40DbwngUh
Mkhitaryan, a versatile 30-year-old attacker, joins the club on a season long loan from Arsenal, for which Roma will pay €3 million, though no mention of an option, mandatory or otherwise, was included in the official release. As you can see Mkhitaryan has selected the #77 shirt, which, why that hasn't been retired in honor of Marco Cassetti is beyond me, but Mkhitaryan spoke about beginning a new chapter in his career and his ambition to achieve great things with Roma, while Petrachi cited his experience and ability to adapt quickly to Serie A as motivations to make this move so quickly.
Of course, with two new attackers coming in, one had to leave, as Patrik Schick's loan move to RB Leipzig was formalized this afternoon. According to the club, Schick will join Leipzig on a one-year €3.5 million loan with Leipzig holding an option to buy the 23-year-old Czech forward for €29 million should Leipzig qualify for the Champions League next season.
Oof, that's a lot to digest. In Kalinic and Mkhitaryan Roma have brought in two experienced and versatile attacking players, ones who will now enable Paulo Fonseca to mix some veterans in with his crew of U23 players, who, while talented, still haven't quite gotten the hang of being full-time players for a big club. And more importantly, Petrachi did so while not committing to either player beyond June 2020, so if they work out, great, if not, no sweat.
We'll take a deep dive on the Schick-Roma experiment later in the week, but with Leipzig having an option to retain him, we may not have seen the last of Schick in a Roma shirt. If, however, he excels in the Bundesliga then Roma will at least be able to defray the €20 million they'll be sending Samdporia's way come February, and if he doesn't succeed with Leipzig, he's still young enough to hold out hope.
While deadline day was nothing to write home about, all told Roma have brought in 10 new players to the senior squad, so it was certainly a busy summer. The only question now is how quickly can they get the newest guys up to speed?