Mino Raiola may be trying his hardest to steer his wayward client, Moise Kean, to Rome, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from linking the club to a host of striking options to play behind and eventually supplant Edin Dzeko. Roma can likely coast for another year with Dzeko as their only option upfront, but if you've followed our transfer coverage during the pandemic, getting a younger and more athletic number nine seems to be Roma's top priority.
Kean may very well come to the capital, but that doesn't mean Roma shouldn't explore other options. Earlier this spring, we discussed another post-hype prospect Roma might take a gamble on, Genoa's Andrea Pinamonti, but I like the look of this next rumor for a few simple reasons.
According to the Corriere dello Sport, Roma have honed their sites on Cagliari's 28-year-old Brazilian forward Joao Pedro. With the Sardinian's main scoring threat, Leonard Pavoletti, injured earlier this season, Pedro took full advantage of his starter's minutes. In 25 league appearances, Pedro scored 16 times, more than doubling his total from all of last season.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing about this guy that screams superstar, but his addition would make a ton of sense. First off, at 28-years-old, Pedro is at his absolute physical peak, but more to the point—the guy can finish. His 16 goals in 2,250 minutes constitutes 0.6 goals per 90 minutes, and he's actually outperforming his 10.90 expected goals this season. Drop him in the Giallorossi's lineup and he's not going to redefine the position, but if Lorenzo Pellegrini can serve one up, Pedro can knock it down,
While he’s undoubtedly enjoying the best football of his career, he's proven to be a farily effective scorer in a part-time role with Cagliari the past few seasons, scoring 24 goals in four seasons as a part-time player.
I'm not suggesting he's going to sustain his ‘19-’20 scoring rate going forward, but if we're talking about a stop-gap/transition player from the Dzeko-era to whatever comes next, Pedro might be the perfect temp hire for Roma: he's got decent size for a striker and if his run this season is any indication, he profiles as precisely the type of cost effective poacher Roma could use during these lean times.
With an estimated €12 million market value, Joao Pedro would be a reasonably cheap replacement for Nikola Kalinic as Dzeko's understudy and could serve as a bridge of sorts until Roma finds a permanent replacement at the position.
With sooooo much uncertainty enveloping the club at the moment, this could be the summer of bargain shopping, with proven veterans on cheap deals taking the place of the super prospects with twenty and thirty million price tags we've seen over the past few years.
It won't be exciting, but Roma has a decent core in place and augmenting that with guys like Joao Pedro, Giacomo Bonaventura and maybe a Jan Vertonghen or German Pezzella could set Roma up for sustainability...at long last.