While we wait on Roma's official unveiling of 23-year-old left-back Matias Viña, who will arrive in the capital from Palmeiras on an €11.5 million move today, I thought it might be fun to get a bit meta on today's transfer rumor du jour: Roma's reported interest in Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet. According to Spanish outlet Sport, Roma are not only interested in the French defender, they may have already made a €15 million proposal to their Spanish counterparts.
At first blush, this is an incredibly exciting transfer rumor. Lenglet, 26, is a silky smooth left-footed center-back who ranks in the 92nd percentile or higher in virtually every passing category one can imagine: passes attempted, passes completed, progressive passes, and progressive carries. Lenglet also ranks well ahead of his peers in pressures, shot-creating actions, and expected assists. Granted, he's not a defensive dynamo, but that passing and creating profile, particularly as a lefty, is outstanding. Adding Lenglet is almost like adding another midfielder, so it's plain to see why any manager would want to add him to the fold.
But why on earth would Barcelona want to sell? Lenglet may not be a household name, but he's been an integral part of Barca's plans over the past two seasons, logging nearly 7,000 minutes in all competitions since the beginning of the 2019-2020 season. So it's not as if he's a redundant asset in need of a new home.
While Sport is quick to point out that Barcelona may be motivated to shed some salary, they make several concessions in the piece that make this rumor practically dead on arrival, including:
- He’s not on the list of players Barcelona currently want to sell
- Barca tried and failed to use Lenglet to acquire Lorenzo Pellegrini
- Roma reportedly offered €15 million, Barcelona wants €25 million
- Barcelona won't budge from their valuation
- If he were to leave, Lenglet prefers the Premiership, and finally...
- Lenglet doesn't want to leave Barcelona
And just to be clear, we aren't connecting any dots or making any inferences here; these factors are all plainly stated in the source article. Clement Lenglet would be an exciting addition (though we can quibble if he's a necessary purchase) but the very structure of the article itself, which is already making the rounds in the Romaverse, grounds the story before it even took flight.
We can't say exactly why Sport felt compelled to run with this story, and while you can call us hypocrites for giving it attention, it stands as a shining example of everything that makes this time of year so maddening for rational football fans.
Lenglet is an exciting player and would make Roma’s defense deeper and more nuanced, but by killing their own lede, Sport reminds us all why they call this Silly Season.
Hang in there, we're only a month away from real football.