The Italian press have been hunting all week for midfield names, ever since Gianluca Petrachi let it be known Roma are in talks for a young signing to reinforce the middle of the park. Widespread reports now reckon the player on Roma’s radar is Elche’s Gonzalo Villar, with Il Tempo (via RomaNews) reporting that Petrachi had made an opening three million euro offer and seen that bid rejected.
That isn’t the only sticking point about this rumour. Petrachi did specify—in his pre-match interview before the Juventus loss—that their midfield target would have to be up to speed with Serie A football straight away in January. Now, I know I’m the first to point out the continued decline of Italian football, but is a 21 year-old playing in the Spanish second division really ready to contribute midway through Roma’s season from the get-go?
The other hurdle in this deal is Villar’s reported reluctance to move to Italy, according to Pagine Romaniste. The Spain U-21 talent is said to be keen on keeping his spot in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and slotting in as Roma’s 4th choice midfielder is unlikely to help him on that front.
Villar himself looks talented enough, but I wouldn’t know anything about him beyond two videos on Youtube.
For his domestic club (where he moved from Valencia - who still hold 80% rights to any eventual transfer fee), Villar looks like he plays an advanced role in midfield. At international level, however, Villar has shown he’s capable of dropping deep. In both cases, we see all the Fonseca-basic expectations of Villar: winning the ball back early, getting his team on the front foot with immediate passing, and immediately attacking the space once he’s released the ball to keep supporting teammates.
And then Villar’s immaculate first touch, and his ability to beat any defender with his technique carrying the ball up field. Elche are reportedly holding out for anywhere between 5-8 million euros for the Spanish midfield talent and, with Everton and Juventus both reportedly ready to enter the bidding, this is one move that could easily never see the light of Roman day.
Stay tuned for more January mercato developments.