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Robin Olsen: The Swedish Surprise Du Chef?

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Could Olsen claim the starting position between the sticks? Or is the Roman story really over and out for the big Swede?

Sweden v Slovakia - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

As it stands right now, AS Roma will start the preseason with three keepers. There’s of course the obligatory young prodigy with the uncertain future (Fuzato) and your even more obligatory expensive keeper who disappointed in his first seasons (Pau Lopez). The third one? The joker.

No, not Batman’s nemesis, although I’d love to see him scare off Ronaldo, Lukaku, and Insigne with his gun prop while using his acid-spewing flower in his purple costume on the grass of Olimpico, laughing maniacally doing so. Yeah, I’m a fan of the comics.

Anyway, I meant our Swedish joker: Robin Olsen. We have no clue where his future lies. Even if Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with his professionalism, Everton isn't like to purchase him permanently. Too bad for Olsen Ancelotti already left the Toffees for Real so there’s that. After two disappointing loans (admit it, you already forgot Olsen at Cagliari 2019-2020), the tall Swede is back in Rome... but for how long?

Just open the Gazzetta and you’ll see Roma being interested in literally every keeper in Europe: Gollini, Rui Patricio, Areola, 50-year-old Buffon, Perin, Navas, Donnarumma, I think I even saw the ghost of Eleftheropoulos and Carlo Zotti pop up somewhere.

Ask yourself this: Does Roma really need to break the bank (again) for a new keeper? There are already three guys with a contract at Trigoria, who are already the property of AS Roma. So no need to lure a guy with a high salary or no ridiculous fee to cough up. Just...play them, you know, for free! Sort of.

Apart from Donnarumma (who was always a pipe dream), there’s not really a next-level keeper being linked to Roma. Someone like Alisson, Courtois, Oblak, or Neuer. Someone who would really make the difference in a top-four battle. Is it worth the time, hard work, and sweat of Tiago Pinto? Or should he instead focus on a defensive midfielder and a quality striker to please Mourinho—areas where Roma really needs to reinforce.

Imagine Roma chasing a new keeper the entire summer while deals like Belotti, Xhaka, or Vlahovic are put on hold, only to be left empty-handed by the end of August and in need to make rash and thoughtless decisions. Haven’t we learned anything from the Smalling or Ziyech transfer sagas?

So who would eventually win the battle from the three keepers currently at Roma? Fuzato showed some skills by the end of last season. Pau Lopez redeemed himself a bit after New Year. Olsen? Still a mystery. Can he turn into the surprise package of the upcoming season? Why not? No one believed in Julio Sergio Bertagnoli as he was dubbed ‘the world’s best third-choice GK’ before he amazed us in 2009-2010. Also at the age of 31.

The frustrating thing with Olsen is you can’t deny he’s a good goalkeeper. More than decent. Even if you’re not a fan. He’s shown it in the World Cup 2018 and now once again with Sweden in Euro 2020. It’s not like he played against Serie B clubs or teams from Slovenia or Hungary in those tournaments. He put up a MOTM performance in Spain just recently.

He’s tall and an imposing figure for attackers. He’s no sweeper-keeper like Alisson or Neuer, who are basically extra defenders, but hey, Roma doesn’t need one anymore. Remember, Fonseca Football is gone. EDF is long gone.

For the first time since Ranieri 2009-2011 (let’s forget his short second stint as caretaker for a moment) Roma will focus on the defensive aspect of the game instead of tiki-taka or free-flowing football. Under Mourinho the Giallorossi need to be ruthless, yes perhaps dull or boring at times but way more efficient. No more Mr nice guys. No more romantic building from the back. A keeper needs to keep it plain and simple. He has one job: don’t let the ball get in. At all costs.

A four-time Swedish Goalkeeper of the Year (hey, a prize is a prize is a prize) Olsen has proven he can be successful—just not at Roma. His first season started brightly under EDF but in the end, it was no success as he lost his place to Mirante. To be fair our entire defense was AWOL that year: Marcano, Santon, Juan Jesus, a broken Karsdorp... oldies Fazio and Kolarov had to play nearly everything to save the sinking ship. 48 goals leaked in 38 games in Serie A.

Mou working his magic on Smalling, Ibanez, Mancini, Cristante, Veretout, a reborn Karsdorp and classy Spinazzola could make Roma tough and solid once again. A cold-blooded Scandinavian like Olsen, with his body and quick reflexes, would fit in nicely. Good in 1 vs 1 situations and confident on corners. Giving him another shot won’t hurt, especially not in Roma’s wallet. The only minus is Robin will need to be more vocal. A lot more. He’ll need to turn into a leader who organizes his defense so José needs to improve his self-esteem (The Offspring, badass song).

He still feels more at ease on the Swedish NT but if we can somehow bring that feeling and mood to Rome, then Mourinho might just have found his number one without paying a single euro this summer.

Tell me that doesn’t sound Swede sweet. If not, well, then there’s always Cagliari I guess.

Poll

Robin Olsen needs to stay?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Ja
    (189 votes)
  • 31%
    Nej
    (118 votes)
  • 18%
    Robin, jag älskar dig!
    (69 votes)
376 votes total Vote Now