The name Alessio Riccardi has been pursed on the lips of Roma prospect hounds for several years now. As a born and bred Roman, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder was always bound to excite Roma fans, but the kid who was rescued from Lazio's evil talons by none other than Bruno Conti just happens to be one of the most talented teenagers in all of Italy, possessing an enviable blend of scoring and play-making that has seen him rise through the Azzurri ranks, captaining Italy at both the U-17 and U-19 levels.
Given that prodigious talent, not to mention his local roots, people have been clamoring to see the boy who would be king since at least 2017. The problem was quite simply that, well, we had nothing to discuss other than potential—the most dangerous word we can apply to a kid his age.
But with such a dynamic scoring and play-making record at the Primavera level, 19-year-old Riccardi had very little left to prove at the youth ranks, leading many to clamor for a role with the senior club.
While he was given his debut by Eusebio Di Francesco in a Coppa Italia fixture against Virtus Entella in January of 2019, the coronation many expected after that cameo never came, as Riccardi spent much of the ensuing 18 months on the senior team substitutes bench or tearing it up at the Primavera level, where he managed 13 goals and 4 assists in all competitions last season.
Despite his inability to break the Roma ranks over the past 18 months, Riccardi's reputation on the peninsula continued to grow, as the young midfielder was connected in a variety of transfer/swap concoctions, fictionally trading places with everyone from Daniele Rugani to Arkadiusz Milik over the past two summers.
But we can put those fears to rest now:
Best of luck with this new challenge, Alessio! #ASRoma— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 8, 2020
Earlier today, Roma officially announced they've loaned Riccardi to Serie B side Pescara, with the Abruzzo-based club holding an option to make the transfer permanent, though Roma retain a buy-back clause, much like they do with Mert Çetin at Hellas Verona.
While many fans would have preferred to see Riccardi spend the upcoming season with a smaller Serie A side, with nothing left to prove at the youth level and no space on Roma's senior team, Riccardi just needs professional minutes, full stop. And with Pescara narrowly avoiding the drop to Serie C earlier this summer, Riccardi should have every opportunity to make his mark with the Dolphins.
We'll keep tabs on Riccardi throughout the season, but suffice it to say, his is a loan you'll want to keep an eye on.