Borja Mayoral's awkward Roman holiday could reach an abrupt end if reports out of Spain are accurate. The 24-year-old Spanish striker arrived in Roma last summer on a two-year loan from Real Madrid, giving the club an unknown, albeit intriguing, understudy for Edin Dzeko. After surviving on Europa League table scraps early in his Roma tenure, Mayoral quickly found his groove and finished the season with 17 goals in all competitions, converting nearly 27% of his shots into goals. He didn't provide the same physical profile as Dzeko, but thanks to his off-the-ball movement and smooth finishing, he was the best number two striker Roma had in years.
And while Roma actually had two separate options to purchase Mayoral outright (€15 million in 2021 and €20 million in 2022), the club opted to pass on the ‘21 option, effectively making this a prove-it season for Mayoral in Roma. Mayoral received a vote of confidence from new manager José Mourinho, who may have actually put the kibosh and a move to Crystal Palace late last month, but the arrivals of Tammy Abraham and Eldor Shomurodov, as well as the persistent Sardar Azmoun rumors, have suddenly cast Mayoral's immediate future in doubt.
According to todofichajes.com, the 24-year-old Spanish striker could ask his parent club to sort out a new loan or permanent transfer this January, with Fiorentina, Atalanta, and several La Liga clubs reportedly interested in signing him during the winter transfer window.
Granted, this isn't a source we reference often, but the validity of their reporting—in this instance—is really irrelevant. Considering the circumstances (the new manager and two new strikers above him in the pecking order), the spirit of this report rings true. At 24-years-old, Mayoral is at a critical juncture in his career where he needs to play consistently to continue his upward trajectory; living off secondhand minutes won't aid his development.
With the transfer market closed in most major leagues, Roma, Real Madrid, and Mayoral have three months to sort this out. But considering the Giallorossi just dropped over €60 million on Abraham and Shomurodov, and seem intent on signing Azmoun next June, the writing is likely on the wall: Mayoral's days with Roma are numbered.
The only lingering question is whether he'll bide his time until June, hoping that he can work his way into the rotation, or push for an early exit in January, finding a club with a more immediate need for his skill set.