We all know that picture: José Mourinho with a cheeky smile embracing Justin Kluivert, seemingly suggesting the two were destined to work together one day. Roma managed to beat Mourinho and Manchester United to the punch for the then 19-year-old Kluivert in the summer of 2018, but as soon as The Special One took the Roma job, the photo quickly re-entered our collective consciousness. Sure, Kluivert's Roma career has been disappointing, but if anyone could unlock his potential, surely it was José Mourinho, who, based on that photograph, was presumably a big fan of the Dutch winger.
Well, we hate to rain on your parade, but according to Gianluca Di Marzio that three-year reunion in the waiting was just dealt a killing blow:
According to Di Marzio, Roma and Ligue 1 outfit Nice are hammering out a deal for the 22-year-old winger. In a report that has since been corroborated by Fabrizio Romano, the framework of a one-year loan to Nice is in place, the only remaining question is whether or not the deal will include a mandatory purchase option.
You'll remember the cloak and dagger social media campaign Roma teased us with that summer, using faint images of Kluivert's silhouette interspersed with Romolo the wolf to cover Roma's not-so-secret pursuit of Kluivert. While Kluivert was a highly regarded prospect at the time (indeed, one of the most coveted teenagers on the market) the buzz around that campaign skewed our expectations for Kluivert. And whether this Nice deal includes an incentive-based purchase clause or a straight-up obligation, it’s safe to say Kluivert’s Roma career is all but finished; a disappointing end to what seemed like a promising career only three years ago.
But Kluivert won't be the only Roma player looking for lodgings in France this week as Di Marzio also reports that goalkeeper Robin Olsen is drawing interest from Ligue 1 champions Lille, who view Olsen as an ideal replacement for Mike Maignan, who signed with AC Milan earlier this summer.
Roma GM Tiago Pinto is facing a monumental task turning the club into a consistent winner, but perhaps his biggest challenge will be undoing all of Monchi's mistakes. Finding permanent homes for Kluivert and Olsen will definitely make Pinto's job easier, so here's hoping these deals go off without a hitch and that Olsen and Kluivert find success with their new clubs.