After nearly returning to AS Roma late last summer, only to see his move fall apart at the last minute because the deal couldn't technically be completed before the transfer deadline, Stephan El Shaarawy has spent the bulk of the 2020-2021 season in isolation, splitting his time between Rome and Dubai. With most pundits assuming Roma and Shanghai Shenhua would simply resume negotiations once the winter transfer window opened, many Roma fans have been left frustrated by the delays, which have seen El Shaarawy connected to other Italian clubs while his brother-agent Manuel tried to broker a deal between Roma and Shanghai.
Following a rather cryptic Instagram post earlier today, in which El Shaarawy bid farewell to Dubai, the rumor mill immediately kicked into high gear bridging the gap between El Shaarawy's goodbye and his return to Roma.
And while nothing is official, Gianluca Di Marzio passed along a bit of good news:
According to Di Marzio, Roma and Shanghai have agreed to a transfer that would bring the 28-year-old forward back to Rome, where he played between 2016 and 2019, scoring 40 goals and chipping in 19 assists in all competitions. While Di Marzio didn't speculate on the precise nature of the transfer (loan vs sale), he does say that El Shaaraway is in Rome and has already begun the first part of his medical examinations, which would seem to suggest that an official announcement is imminent.
We'll have to sweat the details of the transfer later, but this is decidedly good news for fans who have been dreaming of an El Shaarawy reunion, while the presence of the 28-year-old forward should provide Paulo Fonseca with added attacking juice off the bench and/or as an alternate to Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Pedro, both of whom are over 30 and seem to be hitting a wall as we head to the second half of the season.
We'll pass along more details as they become available, but needless to say, this is welcomed news!
Updates: Per multiple sources, El Shaarawy was able to terminate the remainder of his contract with Shangai, forgoing some €20 million in remaining salary, and will sign a new deal with Roma through 2023.