Hey, don't say we didn't warn you. With less than a week before the 2020-2021 season begins, it's become clear as day: Arkadiusz Milik is Roma's top transfer target. While we wait for the Chris Smalling saga to wrap itself up, the club has reportedly been embroiled in a not so secret pursuit of Napoli's 26-year-old striker; a signing that will then set off a chain reaction that could impact the futures of Edin Dzeko, Luis Suarez and possibly Moise Kean and even Olivier Giroud. Given those interconnected links, we can't help but cover this rumor every step of the way—you seldom see rumors quite as complex as this.
While it seems that Napoli have resigned themselves to the fact that no one will pay €50 million for a striker whose contract is about to expire, the deal hasn't come together quite yet. But that all might change this week...
In settimana summit tra #ASRoma e #Napoli per Arek #Milik: giallorossi pronti a offrire €25M (pagabili in 5 tranche) per il polacco. Per la punta pronto quinquennale da €4,5M netti a stagione. #calciomercato— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) September 13, 2020
As you can see, Italian journalist Nicolo Schira reports that the two clubs will meet this week to discuss a possible Milik transfer, the formula of which has changed drastically over the past week. What was once a Cengiz Ünder + €20 million deal has now become a straight cash operation—€25 million to be exact. And if Schira is correct, Roma will be able to pay that sum in five installments. Schira continues to speculate that Roma will sign Milik to a five-year deal worth €4.5 million per season; a nice €2 million raise from his current deal with Napoli.
If this is indeed the case and Roma can lock this deal down before next weekend's opener against Hellas Verona, all eyes will immediately turn to Edin Dzeko. With new Juve headman Andrea Pirlo adamant that his club needs a new striker, the Bosnian Batistuta could change the red and yellow of Rome for the black and white of Juventus.
Or Roma could potentially keep Dzeko and Milik, leaving Juve to look to Suarez, Giroud or even Kean.
Like we said, this thing is a mess. Expect plenty of updates this week. As well as the rest of our U-23 countdown, our season preview roundtables, positional previews, an in-depth look at Fonseca's tactics...it's gonna be a busy week. Tell your loved ones you'll catch up with them in October.