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Atletico Defender Nehuén Pérez Connected to Roma

Center-back depth or Smalling alternative? Neither or both, perhaps.

Vitoria FC v FC Famalicao - Liga NOS Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

With Roma about to net €27 million for Patrik Schick, who is perhaps just hours away from officially being sold to Bayer Leverkusen, the natural assumption was that Roma would then immediately reinvest those funds into Chris Smalling, who has been openly pining for a permanent return to Roma for months now. While that may still happen, it hasn't stopped the rumor mill from connecting Roma with several new defensive options, including a relatively unknown talent from Argentina by way of Atletico Madrid by way of Portuguese club Famalicao FC.

According to multiple sources, Roma have their sights set on Nehuén Pérez, a 20-year-old Argentine defender. The Hurlingham native made a €2.5 million move to Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2018 but has yet to make an official appearance for the Mattress Makers, instead spending his first two years as an Atletico player on loan, first with Buenos Aires-based club Argentinos Juniors and then this past season with Liga NOS club Famalicao FC.

A natural right-footer, Pérez stands 6’1” in the air and is fresh off a rather successful first season of European football. Pérez made 24 appearances (all starts) for Famalicao, scoring one goal, leading the club in clearances and playing to a WhoScored rating of 6.66, a plus for the death metal fans among us.

Currently valued at €7.5 million, Pérez describes himself as a fast, ball playing central defender, one who likes to play in a high-line. Given that low cost, Pérez could arrive in tandem with Smalling and serve as a nominal replacement for Federico Fazio or Juan Jesus, should either of those players officially leave Roma.

Atletico certainly saw something in this kid two years ago and with a full year of seasoning in a European league under his belt, he may be ready to make the leap to Serie A to join Roger Ibañez, Gianluca Mancini and potentially Mert Çetin in an incredibly young backline.

What do you think? Is this Pérez worth the gamble?