Il Romanista reports that Roma have clinched a deal for Atalanta’s misfit defender Roger Ibañez. The Giallorossi beat Bologna’s bid for the Brazilian player, with Roma having offered a two million euro loan and 8 million obligatory redemption fee further down the line.
The Atalanta defender’s agent flew into Italy this morning to let all three clubs know of his client’s decision, and Ibañez should drive into Roma later today.
Since his initial arrival to Italian football 12 months ago, Ibañez has seen just a single minute of Serie A action—in the 18/19 season—and 19 minutes of Champions League action this season for Atalanta. So why are Roma hot for his signature?
Well, on the face of it, Ibañez couldn’t be more of an identikit Fonseca defender.
Of what little Ibañez was allowed to show for Atalanta this pre-season, he’s clearly not afraid to drive the ball up the field. A further highlight video of his time in Brazil below shows that Ibañez plays aggressive in closing gaps to his opponent when defending, looks strong in the air and has enough pace to recover when opponents get behind the defence.
Maybe Ibañez just hasn’t gotten to grips with playing in a 5-man backline up at Bergamo, who knows? That wouldn’t be a problem at Roma, who still haven’t secured Chris Smalling on a permanent basis and could be waving goodbye to Juan Jesus this January.
But the real kicker of this deal is Ibañez’s ability to play as a holding midfielder, too, which ticks Roma’s search for midfield depth behind Amadou Diawara in the very same move. His versatility may have helped Ibañez believe in his chance of first-team action with Roma this season, which will be critical to the defender’s 2020 Olympic hopes.
Ibañez is firmly in line for a call-up to Brazil’s U-23 squad (alongside Roma’s Daniel Fuzato) for the summer competition. I guess Daniel Fuzato got on the phone to tell Ibañez that life stuck behind Mirante and Lopez in the capital is still good, even when it ain’t. Also key to convincing Ibañez was Roma offering him a 1-million-euro-per-season salary.
The weather has always been nicer to South Americans in the Italian capital, and Roma’s newest signing can be a part of
Chiesa di Totti’s Paulo Fonseca’s campaign to #MakeRomaBrazilianAgain.