Throughout this spring, amid all the pandemic-related economic concerns facing the sport and Roma's own uncertain ownership future, we've stressed the importance of the free-agent market. With so much financial uncertainty surrounding the club and the sport at the moment, we must take every traditional transfer rumor with a gigantic grain of salt; it's almost impossible to preach certainty during a time that is anything but. As a result, we've seen a rash of player swaps and free agent rumors over the past several weeks—they're still wildly speculative but they're more in touch with Roma's current reality.
Front and center in that trend has been Roma's pursuit of current Chelsea winger Pedro Eliezer Rodriguez, known simply as Pedro. After moving to Chelsea in the summer of 2015 from Barcelona on a €27 million move, Pedro put in a decent five-year stretch in London, providing 29 goals and 17 assists in 145 Premiership appearances.
But, as he approaches his 33rd birthday, Chelsea have been reluctant to hand the Spaniard a new deal, leaving him free to test the Bosman market during these uncertain times. And with rumors of a return to La Liga following him all spring, it appears as though Roma, at the reported insistence of coach Paulo Fonseca, have jumped the queue.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma and Pedro are nearing a two-year deal that would pay approximately €3.5 million per season. Per the Gazzetta, Fonseca is particularly geeked by Pedro's ability to play anywhere on the front-line, giving the Man from Mozambique even more tactical permutations ahead of next season.
We'll have to wait and see if this rumor proves true, but, at least for me, it's a bit hard to digest. Earlier this year, we reported on an artificial €3 million salary cap for new signings, which made a lot of sense given the club's bloated salary figures, so I find it hard to believe that Roma would instantly void that restriction by making Pedro their third-highest earner after Edin Dzeko and Javier Pastore.
Certainly, Pedro's glove-like fit for Fonseca Football© gives this signing a lot of credence, but giving him €7 million in total salary flies in the face of every financial report we've read over the past few months. Even without the burden of a transfer fee, making yet another 30+ player one of your top earners seems incredibly shortsighted and potentially damaging to a club that is already struggling to keep its squad in tact.
In and of itself, this is a fine signing, but considering his age, his declining production and a potential €7 million in salary, this move carries a significant amount of risk for Roma.
Maybe that's just me, but what do you think: Is the juice worth the squeeze?