After two tumultuous years in the Italian capital, Pau Lopez's Roman adventure seems like it's coming to a rather unceremonious ending—at least temporarily. While Roma has been linked to Wolverhampton keeper Rui Patricio for most of the past month, given the club's finances, Tiago Pinto finds himself in a position where he has to sell before he can buy. José Mourinho won't land a new striker until they sort of Edin Dzeko's future, he can't get his hard-nosed, no-nonsense defender until they convince Chris Smalling to move to Everton and they can't really sign Patricio until they find a taker for Pau Lopez.
And according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, Pinto is about to cross one of those items off his transfer to-do list.
Schira, who has been tracking this story since its inception, reported earlier this morning that Roma and Marseille are moments away from sealing the deal for the 26-year-old Spanish keeper. According to Schira, Lopez will move to Marseille on an initial €500,000 loan with a €15 million option to buy. We won't know until this move becomes official whether or not that option includes a series of escalators that might make the option mandatory, so don't go clapping Pinto on the back just yet.
Lopez had a rocky start to his Roma career but was noticeably sharper, more aggressive, and more likely to make timely (and, at times, spectacular) saves once the calendar flipped to 2021, so there is every chance he takes this opportunity and runs with it, making that €15 million option a no-brainer for Marseille.
However, as we've seen with Cengiz Ünder, Robin Olsen, Alessandro Florenzi, and Justin Kluivert, those options tend to go unused, so Roma may find themselves in the same conundrum as last season.
But Lopez has one thing in his favor: age. Marseille's current keepers, Steven Mandanda and Yohann Pelé, are each over the age of 35, so Lopez should conceivably slide right into that number one position and if his 2021 form carries into the new Ligue 1 season, Southern France could be the safe haven he needs.
We'll update this story if and when it becomes official, and while the deal only includes an option to buy, Lopez has as good a chance to succeed as any Roma loanee has had in ages.