In each of the past two seasons, we've ranked Roma's roster, separating the wheat from the chaff, the cookie part of the Oreo from the filling, the pudding skin from the pudding and the irrelevant from the indispensable. In 2019, Nicolo Zaniolo stood atop the heap based on potential alone but was followed closely by Stephan El Shaarawy and Kostas Manolas, who were in the prime of their respective careers that season. Zaniolo retained his top spot this past spring but Jordan Veretout, Chris Smalling and Edin Dzeko were hot on his heels.
These rankings focused largely on the importance of a given player to Roma's current roster; i.e. are they an essential building block or just window dressing? And even though we just updated these rankings in April, a lot...and I mean a lot...has changed since then: Roma took on a different tactical look (changing the inherent value of some players) and had markedly better results during the restart and, of course, the club was finally sold to Dan Friedkin for a cool €591 million.
Before the ink even had a chance to dry on the club contracts, the rumor vultures began circling around Paulo Fonseca, Amadou Diawara, Jordan Veretout, Edin Dzeko...basically every person, place or thing not bolted to the ground at Trigoria.
Change is in the air in the Eternal City, so we're running back through these rankings, focusing less a player's intrinsic value and more on grim transfer realities: who is likely to leave, who should leave and how much money can Roma make?
They say Roma is a super market, so grab your carts and let's see what's on sale. These one of a kind items are listed in descending order of Roma's need to sell.
(Please note: the term “income” simply means the price a given player could be sold for, not a reflection of initial purchase price minus sale price.)
Fire Sale: Makes Us an Offer and He's Yours
The Candidates: Diego Perotti, Juan Jesus, Robin Olsen, Steven Nzonzi, Rick Karsdorp, Javier Pastore, Ante Coric
Combined Market Value: €30.6 million
Recap: Perotti and Jesus aside, there is a common thread to these gently used goods: they're Monchi's misfits. Olsen, Nzonzi, Karsdorp, Pastore and Coric cost Roma north of €80 million and none of them will come off the books prior to 2022. There are ill advised signings, then there's these moves, most of which still defy explanation; how or why Monchi saw fit to sign all of these players to such exorbitant and long contracts remains a mystery.
Roma are currently engaged in transfer talks for Perotti (Fenerbahce, Al-Shabab), Jesus (Cagliari), Olsen (Benfica, Celti, Cagliari) and Karsdorp (Southampton, Besiktas, Napoli, Atalanta). Pastore was also fetching MLS interest prior to having hip surgery earlier this week.
Who Should Go: All. Of. Them. All of the names on this list have either outlived their usefulness for Roma or never had any to begin with.
Potential Income: Nzonzi and Pastore are the only ones likely to fetch north of ten million (a big if), so we're looking at the €20 to €25 million neighborhood for the whole lot.
Final Markdown: Too Pricey to Sell Cheap, Not Good Enough to Keep
The Candidates: Bryan Cristante, Patrik Schick
Combined Market Value: €45 million
Recap: We can paint these two players with the same broad stroke as hasty purchases with questionable tactical fits in Rome. Cristante the box crashing, goal scoring midfielder has never appeared in a Roma shirt, instead being awkwardly cast as defensive and/or box-to-box midfielder, while Schick was barely given a courtesy glance at his natural position up top.
Roma fell under a spell with Cristante and Schick—both of whom were in ideal tactical setups prior to moving to the capital—sinking nearly €80 million in transfer fees that, to date, haven’t born much fruit.
Who Should Go: Shick. Cristante is slightly more versatile than Schick and can at least provide replacement-level performances in midfield, but Schick wasn't even given a look by Fonseca last summer, so his Roma days are likely done and dusted.
Potential Income: €25 million. If we use the €29 million option inserted into Schick's loan deal with Leipzig (which they've been hesitant to meet), Roma would be lucky to get €25 million for Schick at this point, especially since no other legitimate suitors have emerged.
Priced to Move: We Can Keep Them, but We'd Rather Not
The Candidates: Pau Lopez, Davide Santon
Combined Market Value: €23 million
Recap: Santon, a throw-in in the deal that brought Nicolo Zaniolo to Roma, is a serviceable bench piece capable of playing multiple positions and is one of the lower wage-earners on the squad (€1.5 million) so he's pretty low on Roma’s list of priorities; keep him or sell him and not much changes. The same cannot be said for Lopez, who has not fit the bill as a €23.5 million signing, while his €3 million salary is the club's third highest.
Who Should Go: Lopez. All day. Everyday. Pau had a few nice moments early in the season, but has been exposed for what he truly is: a below average keeper making top wages. Santon is perfectly fine role player while Lopez is an albatross that needs to be sold as soon as possible.
Potential Income: €18 to €20 million. Despite the completely baseless €40 million Premiership rumors floated earlier this spring, fetching even €20 million for Lopez would be a minor miracle.
Dead Stock: Not Useless but We Could Use the Extra Shelf Space
The Candidates: Federico Fazio, Leonardo Spinazzola, Bruno Peres, Alessandro Florenzi, Antonio Mirante
Combined Market Value: €38 million
Recap: Florenzi is the likely outlier in this group, but each of these names has an identifiable role with Roma, and while they might be better off selling them, the club can certainly carry their wages for another year. Mirante has one year left on this deal and is an ideal backup keeper, so no worries there. Fazio, if he's willing, could stay on as a veteran complement to Roma's younger center-backs, while Spinazzola and Peres played better in the restart but neither are what we'd call essential.
Who Should Go: Spinazzola, Fazio and Florenzi. It's easier said than done, but Roma could clear €8.5 in salary by saying goodbye to that trio. Florenzi was already cast out by Fonseca and Spinazzola nearly followed him out the door in January, while Fazio could be an easy PR move for any large club in Argentina.
Potential Income: €24 million, the bulk of which would come from Florenzi.
Going Out of Fashion: Still Trendy but Getting a Bit Gauche
The Candidates: Cengiz Ünder, Justin Kluivert
Combined Market Value: €46 million
Recap: Talk about a tale of two different transfers. Ünder, a relatively unknown product, was greeted by a sea of confused faces when he signed with Roma in 2017 and proceeded to score seven goals in his debut season, stoking fears he'd be sacrificed to Bayern Munich the following summer. Kluivert, meanwhile, rode a wave of hype into the Eternal City in 2018, becoming the subject of a tongue in cheek clandestine reveal by Roma's social media team and has struggled to really make a mark since then.
Who Should Go: Cengiz Ünder. Statistically speaking, Kluivert and Ünder are similar enough to make this a tough call, but Kluivert is just a bit better in the defensive phases of the game, plus Ünder has already been linked with credible swap deals, so he gets the nod here.
Potential Income: €25 to €30 million* We're hitting you with the asterisk because Ünder could potentially be a make weight (directly or not) for Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik, but a straight sale to any other club should fetch close to €30 million.
Place Your Bids: We Like Them, but We Also Like Money
The Candidates: Amadou Diawara, Jordan Veretout, Aleksandar Kolarov
Combined Market Value: €45 million
Recap: Diawara and Veretout were at the center of Roma's midfield makeover last summer, arriving for a combined €37.5 million. With 55 league appearances between them, Diawara and Veretout were mainstays in Fonseca's midfield. Roma are under no ostensible pressure to sell either player, but we've seen Veretout (Napoli) and Diawara (Arsenal) appear in the rumor mill over the past couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Kolarov has been intermittently connected with moves closer to his native Serbia, but nothing concrete has emerged and he seems set to retire in a Roma shirt next June.
Who Should Go: None of them, but without a clearer understanding of the club's post-Pallotta finances, we can't say for certain if the club needs to sell them or not. In that light, if the Diawara for Lucas Torreira trade goes through, we can only assume Fonseca simply prefers Torreira. Selling Veretout would be a bit tougher to explain, but he's denied all transfer rumors to date.
Potential Income: Negotiations for either of Veretout or Diawara should start at €20 million.
We Just Bought Them: Back-Off Unless You're Willing to Overpay
The Candidates: Gianluca Mancini, Roger Ibañez, Gonzalo Villar, Carles Perez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mirko Antonucci, Riccardo Calafiori, Daniel Fuzato
Combined Market Value: €37 million (most of which stems from Mancini)
Recap: With the exception of the Primavera grads, this group is comprised entirely of new signings, two of whom (Mancini and Mkhitaryan) were signed to fill specific roles, while the rest carved out niches in Roma's restart. Mkhitaryan aside, all the names on this list are 24-years-old or younger and have the potential join the likes of Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma's centerpieces for the next several years.
They may not all be with Roma for the long haul, but the club has little motivation to sell any of these players at the moment.
Who Should Go: Antonucci, Calafiori and Fuzato should all spend next season on loan. The rest of this set should remain with the club next season and beyond.
Potential Income: N/A. Although, if Roma were thinking of replacing Mancini he could easily bring in north of €25 million.
Essential Items: It Would Take a Hell of an Offer
The Candidates: Edin Dzeko, Lorenzo Pellegrini
Combined Market Value: €43 million
Recap: This one is sort of self-explanatory, right? Edin Dzeko, the club's fourth all-time leading scorer and our Player of the Year, has been integral to nearly everything Roma has achieved over the past several years. Despite his importance to the club, he's never been far from the rumor rags and was firmly in Inter Milan's cross-hairs last summer. There's no denying his importance to the club, but at 34-years-old, one can argue it's time to cut ties with Dzeko—though doing so without an immediate replacement would be a huge mistake.
Age isn't an issue with Pellegrini but rather the confluence of performance, expectations and the city of his birth. As the latest Roman link in the chain, Roma's 24-year-old play-maker receives scorn and praise in equal measure. His pre and post restart numbers were pretty disparate, but on the balance of the season he was among the best play-making midfielders in the league. Despite those numbers, Pellegrini has been linked with moves to clubs like PSG and Juventus over the past several months.
Who Should Go: With some shrewd corresponding moves, you can easily make a case for either player, but if one had to go, I'd choose Dzeko. He has two years remaining on his deal but one has to wonder if he can maintain this pace when he's 35 or 36-years-old, so he might be the ideal “better to sell a year too soon than a year too late” candidate.
Potential Income: Dzeko could land €10 to €12 million from a motivated buyer, while Pellegrini could easily land €35 million for Pellegrini, especially if PSG is involved.
GTFO: You Cannot Be Serious
The Candidate: Nicolo Zaniolo
Market Value: €45 million
Recap: If the Nicolo Zaniolo for Radja Nainggolan swap/sale isn't the stuff of legend already, it soon will be. Although he was hampered by a torn ACL this past season, Zaniolo returned with gusto after the restart, finishing his second season with eight goals and four assists in 33 appearances. He is, in every way, shape and form, the future of Roma and likely Italy.
Who Should Go: N/A. Selling him shortly after purchasing the club would be the worst possible introduction for Dan Friekdin.
Potential Income: If that dark day came in the immediate future, I wouldn't sell him for anything short of €60 million.
By some estimates, Roma may attempt to sell as many as 14 players this summer, meaning the soon to be hired Director or Sport is in for one hell of a welcome orientation. Throw in a few of the whales (Nzonzi, Olsen, Lopez) with some of the scraps (Perotti, Fazio, Jesus, etc.) and possibly a surprise sale or two (Cristante, Diawara or Veretout) and Roma could land as much as €100 million in sales, if not more.
That's an optimistic scenario, though. If selling fringe players were that easy, Gianluca Petrachi would have done just that last summer or even in January. In reality, Roma will struggle to find permanent homes for many of Monchi's misfits and may use their more leverage-able assets in swap deals, erasing any pure profit in the process. So that €100 million could soon dwindle down to €50 or €60 million.
As currently constructed, Roma's roster is the byproduct of at least four different footballing philosophies. Paulo Fonseca did the best he could with that calcio concoction, but those conflicting ideals make it practically impossible for any manager to properly install their tactical philosophies to any great effect.
By trimming some of the excess, Roma's roster can experience the same reset as their finances are (hopefully) undergoing as we speak, paving the way for a more cohesive and successful future for one of Italy's biggest (but dormant) clubs.
If sold, which player would Roma miss LEAST?
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