Since it's Mother's Day, let's start our Sunday with the mother of all rumors, the one sure to dominate the rumor mill this summer: Moise Kean's return to Italy. And much like last year's blockbuster, Mauro Icardi to Roma, this one makes more tactical sense than financial sense. Icardi could have put Roma's attack over the top this season and set them up for the near future, but, despite the flurry of rumors, there was simply no way Roma could pay full freight for Icardi. Moise Kean is not Mauro Icardi, but his near €30 million price tag makes him a top shelf striker for a club like Roma.
After bursting on the scene with Juventus in 2018 with six goals in 13 appearances—including a stretch where he scored in six-straight matches for club and country—Kean looked like the next big thing in Italian football. But then something unexpected happened: he was sold to Everton (of all places) for €27.5 million plus bonuses.
It was that simple yet lucrative transaction that suddenly made Kean a divisive figure among calcio fans. After such a promising debut, why would Juve sell such a promising player? The fact that the Old Lady relinquished him so quickly led many to question whether or not his sensational debut was more sizzle than steak; was Kean the next big thing or merely a poacher riding a hot hand?
His transition to English football has done nothing to quiet that conversation either. Although he's played for three managers during his nine months with Everton, it's fair to say his returns have been disappointing. With one goal and two assists in 22 Premiership appearances, Kean has struggled mightily to adapt to the “greatest league in the world.”
Still, despite that slow start, the Kean-to-Roma rumors have persisted for months now, including a deluge of stories this past winter. However, once Carlo Ancelotti was appointed Everton manager on December 21, 2019 those stories trailed off, with many assuming an Italian manager would get more use out of his young Italian striker than either Marco Silva or Duncan Ferguson had managed.
While Kean found more playing time and scored his lone goal under Ancelotti's watch, he hasn't exactly fit the bill as a €30 million striker, leading many to speculate the Merseyside club are willing to part with the 20-year-old Vercelli native.
A player with Kean's reputation and upside is sure to have plenty of suitors, but Roma have grabbed most of the headlines thanks to a few key relationships. First, there is Kean's close relationship with Roma standout Nicolo Zaniolo, which may not seem like much on the surface, but having that bond at the club level could do wonders for both young players’ psyche.
And then there is the more important and influential relationship Roma are hoping to exploit—his agent, Mino Raiola.
According to some members of the Italian press, Gianluca Petrachi is already working that connection:
I'm not sure how Chris Smalling factors into the equation—Roma could promise not to pursue him as a favor for getting Kean, but what's to stop any other club from making an offer?—but Raiola and Roma have a shared interest in Justin Kluivert and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as well, so there may be some quid pro quo on the table between the super agent and Roma.
Still, despite all those links, this is no cut and dry affair. Much like Icardi last summer, the fit may make sense, but the finances may not line up. Sure, Roma want a loan with an option to buy, but will that make sense for Everton? And with so much uncertainty in Roma's front office, could they really pay €30 million up front?
These are definitely some intriguing dots waiting to be connected, and one can only wonder...is Mino Raiola eyeing something bigger?