Ante Coric was supposed to be the “Next Luka Modric” and William Bianda the latest in a long line of great French defenders. At least that was the company line sold to us when Monchi signed the two young prospects in the summer of 2018. However, rather than Coric putting Luka Modric out to pasture with the Croatian National Team, he spent more time packing and unpacking his bags than he did actually playing football—for Roma or anyone. And Bianda, with a spate of injuries and an unsuccessful loan spell in Belgium, didn't fare much better than Coric.
Purchased on July 1, 2018, for €6 million, Coric wasn't even close to being Monchi's biggest outlay that summer, but that was still a pretty hefty fee for a 21-year-old who had never played outside his homeland. The “Next Luka Modric” moniker was conjured more out of convenience than merit, but Coric racked up 15 goals and 16 assists in five years of part-time duty with Dinamo Zagreb, so there was plenty of reason to be excited.
However, with Roma's midfield filled to the brim, the odds were always against Coric carving out an immediate role with the Giallorossi. So, on loan he went—three different times. First, there was an unsuccessful stint in the Spanish Segunda with Almeria. After logging only 568 league minutes during 2019-2020, Coric soon found himself with VVV Venlo in the Netherlands, where he played...once, for 28 minutes. After returning to Roma in February 2021, Coric was quickly shipped out to NK Olimpija in the Slovenian league, where he played...six times for 334 minutes last season.
As we said, Coric spent more time traveling than playing the sport he presumably loves. And with more stamps on his passport than accomplishments on the pitch, it's no wonder he's been left out of Roma's plans for 2021-2022 altogether. But he's not alone.
William Bianda may have lacked a proper nickname, but on the very same day they unveiled Coric to the masses, Roma threw down another €6 million on Bianda, who was purchased from Lens on July 1, 2018. Where the Coric figure was somewhat justifiable given his playmaking record with Zagreb, the Bianda signing was completely out of left field. That was an exorbitant sum for a kid with virtually no professional experience, but Monchi's track record spoke for itself, so we had no choice but to trust his vision.
And you can sort of guess what happened next, right?
Plagued by a string of minor injuries and a simple lack of opportunity, Bianda spent most of the past three years in Roma's youth ranks before going on loan with Zulte Waregem in the Belgian league last season. With seven appearances and three yellow cards, Bianda's time in Belgium wasn't exactly well spent.
And so here we are, at the dawn of a new season, three years, four managers, four directors of sport, and two club owners removed from their arrivals in the capital, and Roma is reportedly working their fingers to the bone to find an amicable solution for two players with two years remaining on their contracts.
According to the Corriere dello Sport, with no immediate loan prospects on the horizon, Roma GM Tiago Pinto is reportedly working to terminate those two contracts with some sort of severance package that would allow Coric and Bianda to become free agents and sign with the club of their choice.
Say it a million times and you still haven't said it enough: Monchi's tenure with Roma was a disaster. He left an almost unfathomable trail of wreckage in his wake, and players like Coric, Bianda, and Pastore are fitting remnants of Monchi's lack of prescience that summer.
We can have a good laugh at all this, but Coric and Bianda are still relatively young players, so let's hope this clean break works in their favor and they can find some stability in their careers.