I would wager that if we were able to somehow analyze what words or phrases have appeared on CdT most since our inception,“full-back" wouldn't be too far behind “Totti”, “De Rossi” or “Roma Happened.” For as much as we've sang Totti and De Rossi's praises in these spaces, we've spent almost as much time over the past eight seasons bemoaning Roma's inability to develop, recruit and/or retain...not even a top full-back...but simply a serviceable full-back. Someone who can simultaneously put in a decent cross and not completely fall apart on the defensive end. I know, tall task, right?
From Aleandro Rosi to Alessandro Florenzi to Marco Cassetti to Ivan Piris to Lucas Digne to John Arne Riise to Maicon to Bruno Peres to Davide Zappacosta to Jose Angel and even Rodrigo Taddei, Roma have seemingly tried anything and everything to solve their full-back woes.
There have certainly been some fleeting success stories in that list (Aleksandar Kolarov springs to mind, ditto Maicon for that one year) but Roma's perpetual search for a full-back has spilled into the summer of 2020, as the club has recently been connected to a pair of full-backs to provide depth and/or compete with Leonardo Spinazzola at the left wing-back spot.
Assuming Paulo Fonseca sticks with the 3-4-2-1 formation this season, and that Kolarov serves as the LCB in that formation, the Giallorossi will need someone to augment and possibly compete with Spinazzola for minutes at the left wing-back spot.
Enter Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac and Sporting Lisbon's Marcos Acuña, both of whom have been connected with Roma by various media outlets, including the Corriere dello Sport and Sky Sports Deutschland.
Let's start with Kolasinac, the 27-year-old Bosnian who joined Arsenal from Schalke 04 in 2017. After a stellar debut with the Gunners—two goals and four assists in 27 Premiership appearances—Kolasinac has struggled with a string of minor injuries that have seen his minutes decrease in each of the past three season, though he did log 1,700 minutes this past season. A six-foot tall left-footer, Kolasinac doesn't have any glaring weaknesses or notable strengths and his valued at roughly €16 million.
Acuña, another left-footer (albeit shorter than Kolasinac) is a 28-year-old Argentine defender who has been with Sporting Lisbon since 2017, arriving from Racing Club that summer. Since arriving in Portugal, Acuña has been incredibly productive, scoring seven goals and chipping in 16 assists in all competitions since 2017. Where Kolasinac is a balanced full-back, Acuña makes his hey in the attacking end, where he's known for his crossing and play-making and comes with a estimated market value of €12 million.
With Roma remaining tight lipped since the Dan Friedkin takeover and the club running a reported €170 million in the red this past season, we have no idea if Roma can even spend €12 million on a full-back, but if Fonseca sticks with his new formation, the club will need depth at both full-back spots.
So, whether it's a purchase, a loan or another free transfer, full-back is...once again and forever more...a priority for Roma.
But in this crazy year, it’s nice to have some familiarity, isn't it?