Having been on the wrong end of multiple 7-1 beat downs in the Champions League, Roma are no strangers to embarrassing European nights. There's not much you can do in the wake of such a defeat other than lick your wounds and move on, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one partaking in a bit of schadenfreude yesterday while watching Barcelona suffer their own Bayern Munich beat down, falling 8-2 to the German giants.
Where Roma fans (and probably the management at the time) cry in the beers and curse the heavens in the wake of such a defeat, Barcelona are reportedly on the verge of doing a near total house cleaning. According to multiple outlets (Sport, Mundo Deportivo and AS) Barcelona are fixing to take an ax to their €983.20 million rated squad. (Props to our Barcelona site for those links.)
Players like Lionel Messi, Marc Andre ter Stegen, Clement Lenglet, Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and Frenkie de Jong are reportedly safe from the reaping, but that still leaves A TON of talented players who may not only be transfer listed but might see their contracts voided full stop, effectively making them free agents.
Now, it's not likely that we wake up Monday and Barcelona only have six or seven players under contract, but after three straight humiliating Champions League crash outs (guess which one was our favorite?), desperate times may produce desperate measures.
So, why not take a look at see if Roma could take advantage of Barcelona's misery? Keep in mind, we're considering footballing fit more than finances. Barcelona salaries are insane, so Roma would really only be in play if these contracts are rescinded and the players become free agents.
Okay, let's find a new home for these soon to be orphans. Remember, adopt not shop!
Position: CB| Age: 26 | Market Value: €32 million
After an impressive four-year stint with Lyon, Barcelona snapped up the then 23-year-old Cameroonian defender for a cool €25 million. Umtiti’s Barca career got off to a solid start—24 starts in each of his first two seasons, two Copa del Rey titles, two La Liga titles and a World Cup winner’s medal with France—but a series of knee and foot injuries has hampered his development since then, limiting him to only 13 appearances this season.
Umtiti is a 5’11” 165 lb. left-footed center-back known best for his passing precision (over 90% completion over his past three years) and reading of the game (nearly 4 tackles + interceptions per game this past season). During his second season with Barcelona (‘17-’18), Umtiti ranked 27th in La Liga in progressive distance covered while carrying the ball. Combine that with his precise passing and Umtiti is no stranger to building from the back.
Fit With Roma
If Roma do indeed sort out a permanent transfer for Chris Smalling, the need for a center-back drops dramatically, as Smalling would join up with Gianluca Mancini, Federico Fazio and Roger Ibañez to form a pretty solid foursome. But...in Umtiti, we're talking about a 26-year-old defender just entering his prime. If Roma are willing to gamble on his health, he could easily crack the rotation, especially if Fazio and Juan Jesus move on this summer.
Position: DM | Age: 32 | Market Value: €28 Million
A Barca lifer, Busquets has been with the club since making his Barcelona B debut way back in 2007. Since then, Busquets has made over 600 appearances for the club, winning 29 trophies in the process.
At 6’2” and roughly 160 lbs, Busquets is a lean and mean defensive midfielder, using his superior intellect and vision to disrupt opposing attacks. In each of the past three seasons, Busquets has averaged close to or over four tackles + inteceptions per 90 minutes. Busquets is equally as smooth with the ball at his feet, completing more than 90% of his passes in each of the past three seasons and played 14 through balls this past year, while also scoring two goals and providing two assists.
Fit With Roma
In the immediate sense, bringing Busquets aboard wouldn't make a ton of sense; midfield is arguably the most complete part of the squad. However, if the club parts ways with Bryan Cristante, Jordan Veretout or Amadou Diawara, Busquets could be good stop gap solution and/or mentor to Gonzalo Villar.
Position: CB | Age: 33 | Market Value: €20 million
Shakira's baby daddy actually got his start with Manchester United, moving to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2008 for a hard to believe five million pounds. Pique has since amassed over 500 appearances for the club, winning 29 trophies, including three Champions League titles.
A massive 6'3” defender, Pique dominates in the air, winning four aerial duels per match. Pique is equally adept in the passing game, completing more than 91% of his passes in each of the past two seasons, while averaging more than four long balls per game nearly every season of his career. Defensively speaking, Pique has won an average of 51% of his tackle attempts over the past two seasons while the club wins the ball back roughly 33% of the time he pressures an opponent.
Fit With Roma
Much like Umititi, Pique's fit with Roma depends on what happens with Smalling, Fazio and Jesus. If Smalling remains and the latter two leave, Pique's experience could be a god-send for young players like Mancini and Ibañez, while he would be a more than suitable replacement for the Englishman if Roma and United can't come to an agreement. Every team needs defensive depth, and a quartet of Smalling, Mancini, Ibañez and Pique is an ideal blend of youth and experience.
Position: MF | Age: 32 | Market Value: €20 million
After an incredibly successful run with Sevilla, Rakitic was one of the biggest bargains in modern transfer history, moving to Barcelona in the summer of 2014 for a cool €18 million, or about six million less than Roma paid for Juan Iturbe that same summer. Since then, Rakitic has made well over 300 appearances in a Barcelona shirt, scoring 36 goals and providing 37 assists in all competitions.
Well, we kind of just said it all, didn't we? During his time with Barcelona, Rakitic transformed himself into one of the most versatile and dynamic midfielders in the game. Capable of playing multiple positions in midfield, Rakitic brings a unique blend of attacking prowess and defensive acumen to the middle of the park, creating from all angles and covering enough ground to enable players like Messi to focus solely on their attacking duties.
Fit With Roma
I'm not sure there's a direct fit, but anytime you can add a player as talented and as versatile as Rakitic, you have to at least explore it. Should Roma shed any one of their current midfielders, drop in Rakitic and you'd barely miss a beat.
Position: RB | Age: 26 | Market Value: €40 million
Purchased in the summer of 2017 from Benfica for €30.5 million up front plus appearance-based bonuses, Semedo hasn't been with Barcelona long, but he's seen his minutes and total appearances increase in each of his three seasons at the club. While he was badly exposed by Alphonso Davies in Barcelona’s humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich, he's arguably coming off the best of his three seasons with Barcelona.
While he's not a right-back cut in the mold of Bruno Peres (dribble, dribble, dribble, run, run, run), Semedo is solid in virtually all aspects of the job, completing 90% of his passes, winning 66% of his dribble attempts and averaging nearly four passes into the final third per 90 minutes. Defensively speaking, Semedo averaged 3.35 tackles + interceptions per 90 minutes and won 51 of 66 attempted tackles this season.
Basically with Semedo you got a lot of good, very few weaknesses but nothing especially spectacular.
Fit With Roma
Well, it would be nice if Semedo were simply cut loose because Roma definitely need a long-term option at right-back. Semedo doesn't overwhelm you in any particular area, but his blend of skills beats anything Roma have had at right-back in ages.
Barcelona has a star studded squad and if they do indeed purge their roster of these now redundant assets, clubs all over Europe will fall all over themselves to take a chance on these rejects.
Landing even just one of these names would do wonders for Roma's depth next season. So, what do you think, are any of them worth taking a risk on?
You can only sign one of these guys, who do you choose?
This poll is closed