Today’s rumor mill is bound to churn around Juventus director Fabio Paratici’s decision to meet up with new Roma chief Ryan Friedkin and CEO Guida Fienga in London. It’s understood that Paratici isn’t being solicited for the sporting director job in Rome (he’s already been approached and respectively told his good friend Fienga that Paratici wants to stay on at Juve) but rather to discuss another summer player-swap deal that would mimic the Spinazzola-Pellegrini exchange of twelve months ago.
Joining these men at the Roma transfer summit will be football agent Mario Giuffredi, who is understood to be one of Roma’s (and Fienga’s) most trusted agents on the circuit. Giuffredi represents Jordan Veretout among other players, so read into that what you will.
Which Juventus players could Roma realistically be interested in? And what could Roma possibly offer in exchange?
Juventus’ Possible Transfer Targets
Roma’s spiritual captain has been mentioned, by several news sources, as being one of the options on the table for Juventus to pick up this summer. From Roma’s point of view, the reasoning is easy: Florenzi is one of the club’s only sources of pure plusvalenza this summer.
But what’s rarely discussed is how things look from Florenzi’s personal point of view. How attached is Florenzi to the idea of playing for Roma at any costs, really?
There’s no doubting Florenzi’s been a great club servant, both and off the pitch. But there’s also the hasty assumption that Florenzi is just not good enough to dream of anything other than playing, warming the bench or sweeping the floors for Roma.
Things have changed since long before Totti retired. We’ve seen De Rossi speak openly on the chance to play football abroad, no problem. And last season, Florenzi made the choice to seek a loan move abroad in order to keep his international football chances healthy in time for the EUROs. Today, Lorenzo Pellegrini holds onto his right to a release clause from the club.
With every new Roma generation of football graduates, there comes a more cosmopolitan view of the world. But from Juventus’ point of view, signing Florenzi makes little sense.
If Alè was already a questionable fit for Roma’s shape, it doesn’t add up that Andrea Pirlo could find space for Florenzi in Pirlo’s ideal 4-3-3. Florenzi is also on sizeable 3 milllion per season wages already, so maybe the recent Everton links add up better.
Verdict: Florenzi is versatile, experienced and could be a good addition to many clubs. But not Pirlo’s Juventus.
Riccardo Calafiori hasn’t actually been mentioned as a Juve transfer target for some weeks now. And not this week, either.
That either suggests Roma are intent on holding onto the most talented full-back academy player seen since... well, Luca Pellegrini... or that Calafiori’s rumored intent on running down his youth contract means no club is going to offer Roma a 20-to-30 million transfer fee for Calafiori anytime soon.
You can be as optimistic or pessimistic as you choose about this from a Roma point of view. But from a Juve point of view, signing Calafiori—as talented as he is—doesn’t make much sense for their teambuilding. But when has Juventus’ transfer spending been coherent recently?
Verdict: Probably won’t happen for a number of reasons. Roma should be more concerned about Calafiori signing a senior contract.
He has a fancy right foot that can do anything, but that’s about it for now. Riccardi hasn’t physically progressed like the club hoped he would, and he’s in that awkward no-mans-land where he’s arguably learnt everything he can at Primavera level, but not strong enough break into the leading clubs of Serie A.
In fact, Riccardi’s agent outright stated to the Gazzetta dello Sport this past May that Riccardi is now done with Primavera football. Yes, in so many words. We don’t know if anyone at Roma had a say in that decision, or if Alessio came to that conclusion all by himself.
It’s a really bad time to be a Primavera graduate looking to jump to pro football, especially someone in Riccardi’s position.
Unlike Calafiori, Riccardi doesn’t have a natural position in Paulo Fonseca’s setup. Serie B clubs definitely don’t have the money for anything other than dry loans. And neither do top-flight clubs like Sassuolo or Cagliari look like they can afford the risk in this pandemic-struck transfer market, either.
Verdict: Unlikely target for Juventus but not out of the question.
Enough ink has been spilled on the pros and cons of Bryan Cristante’s failure to launch in Roma colours, that I’m personally tired of writing about by now.
Corriere dello Sport reckons that Bryan is still on Juve’s radar this summer, after having been linked with the Bianconeri many times throughout last season. He wouldn’t look out of place in Andrea Pirlo’s 4-3-3 but, let’s be honest, Juve would be doing Roma a favour more than the other way around. And that just doesn’t sound like Juventus.
Verdict: Technically makes sense for both clubs, even if Roma would have the edge here.
He slices through a Juve midfield like a knife through hot butter, so naturally the Bianconeri would jump at the chance to discuss signing wonderkid Zaniolo.
But who would be masochistic enough to let Juventus pair Zaniolo alongside Dejan Kulusevki in the same lineup?
Verdict: If Dan Friedkin wants to start his Roma presidency by being chased from the city then, sure, go ahead. But really, no. No to this move.
Mentioned as a possible target only by journalist Nicolò Schira, yet this is one of the few moves that makes sense both for Juventus and Roma.
Kluivert’s sense of compact football wouldn’t look out of place in Andrea Pirlo’s defensive 4-3-3 shape and, though it would hurt to see the Dutchman inevitably take his career to the next level at Juventus, it’s probably best for Justin’s development.
He’s still only just turned 21 years old, and could collect a fee that would net a decent profit for Roma this summer. Then Juventus would only have to bring the best out of him for another 4-5 years, before moving Kluivert on for yet another hefty fee in his prime.
Verdict: One of the few cards Roma can play that would be a win for both clubs.
Roma’s acting captain is on the radar for all of Italy’s leading clubs this summer. Dzeko’s imperious form, even at 34 years of age, hasn’t been lost on the likes of Inter Milan nor Juventus.
This is probably Dzeko’s last chance to win anything on Italian soil. If he’s going to do it, it isn’t going to be in Rome. But then again, Dzeko has two Rome-born children, his family loves it here and he can usurp Amedeo Amadei to become Roma’s third-highest goalscorer of all time in 2020/21.
Dzeko won’t ever catch up with the goalscoring feats of Francesco Totti or Roberto Pruzzo, but the chance to etch himself further into club legend beckons in the Eternal City.
Verdict: It’s not that the move doesn’t make sense. But the problem for Roma remains the same: If they wave goodbye to Dzeko, who on earth do Roma replace him with? The media are divided on whether Arkadiusz Milik is answering the Giallorossi call, or sending them straight to voicemail.
Roma’s Possible Transfer Targets
Whoever says Serie A doesn’t play daring football probably hasn’t been watching for the last decade. The quiet revolution going on at Genoa is yet another Italian example of trying resurrect the spirit of Sacchi football, even through the Grifone failed miserably at converting this philosophy into results last season. That failure that nearly cost Genoa their Serie A status, but how much of it was down to Mattia Perin in goal?
Of all Serie A’s regular starting keepers, Perin faced the highest average shot quality (PsxG/SoT 0.37) against him in the league. Strikers were given wide open angles to try and slot it past the Italian. But Perin is also a very conservative keeper, venturing an average 12.3 yards outside of goal and pulling off just 8 defensive actions outside of his box in 2019/20.
That suggests Perin wasn’t the lone (or loan) hero in goal, but actually made an ill-advised return to a changing Genoa side that barely suits his style nowadays.
I’ve never been sold on Perin, and the numbers claim that he cannot back up a high-line defense without creating a big hole between him and his backline for opponents to dump the ball into and get a run on his goal. To top it off, Perin did what was expected of him with a PSxG of 0.01 for the season. No more and no less. He neither over-performed, no under-performed.
Verdict: Perin’s performances are what they are by now: Bang-on average from a keeper who isn’t comfortable outside of the box. Roma would have to find a home for Pau Lopez before entertaining this idea, but there’s a reason Juventus never bothered giving Perin a chance.
Mattia De Sciglio
It seems like De Sciglio has been around forever and a year, but the same can’t be said about his Juventus career. Mattia has been ravaged by injuries, and he has a recurring muscle problem that’s keeping him out on the stretcher this summer, as we speak.
Technically he did enough to pick up a league winner’s medal last year, but Sarri used him in just 13 appearances across all competitions. The majority of those games came at left-back, where De Sciglio is equally comfortable as he is playing from the right flank.
On his best day, De Sciglio’s athleticism, dribbling and ability to intercept are an upgrade on Roma’s current full-backs. But when does De Sciglio’s best day ever come anymore?
Verdict: Roma don’t need another injury-prone player on the books. Pass.
Still only just having turned 22 this year, Cristian Romero is already one of the most intelligent defenders in Serie A. He may have only just survived relegation amid Genoa’s schizophrenic/borderline kamikaze tactics last season, but don’t let that fool you over the player himself.
Romero was Serie A’s best individual player for interceptions last season. He’s super-aggressive in his read of the game, looking to cut out danger before it’s begun, and yet Romero has the physique, aerial bravery and enough pace to recover whenever he needs to play more conservative. Considering Fonseca’s team is especially vulnerable to crosses from the far side, signing a defender with the aerial prowess of Romero would fit like a hand in glove.
If you like Ibañez then you love Romero on everything but the price tag.
Juventus signed Romero for 26 million euros last summer, before immediately loaning the Argentinian defender back to Genoa for 2019/20. That would mean Roma would have to sign Romero for a fee of at least over 20 million.
Verdict: Too good to be true. Romero is wanted by Atalanta among other clubs, while Juventus would be ballsy to let him go. If there’s any chance, definitely sign him.
Easy there, Paratici. Did you not like the in-flight meal on the way over to London? There’s no reason to open up with the discussion with this one.
A couple of seasons ago, we could have put it down to lack of self-belief. Last year, we might have said the Italian defender was uninspired. But now Daniele Rugani is 26 years old, and simply not a good player.
The fact he only racked up 10 appearances under his mentor Maurizio Sarri, who broke Rugani into Serie A football at Empoli, says it all. We can only remember Rugani for giving the ball away for fatal goals conceeded (when possession is meant to be his strength), lack of fight in the air and sheer lack of game time.
Verdict: Signing him would be worse than keeping Juan Jesus on for another season. Roma should pay Juventus to stop being linked with Rugani’s name.
There was a time when I really wanted Roma to sign Cuadrado, but that was over 5 years ago.
He wouldn’t actually look out of place as a natural wide right-back in Roma’s setup, and would even balance the team well enough. But Cuadrado is turning 33 years old this year and, by now, has won everything there is to win in Italy. He also comes with a 3 million per season net salary attached.
Verdict: Footballing-wise he could make sense, but financially there’s no reason for Roma to make Cuadrado one of their highest paid players in the squad. Pass.
A versatile player that could slot well enough into any given Paulo Fonseca shape, but Bernardeschi’s monstrous salary makes him an impossible transfer target, despite the fact he’s linked with a Roma move yet again.
Verdict: Wages that will make your eyes water. A practical impossibility for Roma.
Only one news source, Calciomercato.it, mentioned Higuain as a possible name on the table. This would be a revival of 2019’s will-he-won’t-he Roma summer transfer saga.
Look, one day Higuain’s ‘How To Shred A Barbecue Off In One Summer’ routine will catch up with him. But until then, he’s still a fine all-round forward, even if his numbers were on the slide with only 8 goals and 4 assists in 32 appearances for Juve last season.
But who can forget Higuain’s phenomenal work-rate near-single-handedly dismantling Roma at the Olimpico in January? Or his individual link-up play with Dybala for a spectacular goal against AC Milan?
The problem here is Higuain knows how good he is, and that’s a shade above Roma’s level.
Verdict: Too expensive for Roma at his age, unless he traded places with Edin Dzeko. A repeat of 2019’s summer dilemma.
Who should Roma sign from Juventus?
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Mattia De Sciglio