With Chris Smalling rounding back into shape, Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez hitting their stride, and even young Marash Kumbulla finally emerging from a year-long slump, it may not seem like Roma needs another center-back, but that hasn't stopped the press from linking the Giallorossi to another intriguing defender. Besides, any time a young left-footed, ball-playing defender hits the market, page one in the Director of Sport Reference Manual dictates that they at least put in a call.
And the defender in question is 22-year-old Lens center-back, Facundo Medina. A six-foot-tall southpaw, Medina began his career in his native Argentina with River Plate (though he never made an actual appearance) before signing with Talleres in the winter of 2018. After an initial settling-in period, Medina made 33 appearances for La T before signing with Lens on a €3.5 million deal in July 2020.
Since arriving in Lens, Medina wasted little time ingraining himself in the first team, logging 26 appearances in all competitions during his first season in France; a trend that has continued this year with Medina starting 18 matches for Lens.
Like most lefties, Medina’s calling card is his skill on the ball. According to Football Reference's scouting reports, Medina has ranked in the 80th percentile or higher among center-backs in Europe's top five leagues in a host of passing categories, including passes completed, total passing distance, passes into the final third, switches, progressive passing distance and progressive passes per 90 minutes, where he ranks in the 99th percentile.
And as if all that wasn't impressive enough, Medina also ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in shot-creating actions, tackles won, dribblers tackled, and passes blocked, while also fairing exceptionally well in pressures, successful pressures, and blocks.
Add all that up and what you get is a young and incredibly gifted defender (on both ends of the pitch), one that has the potential to be a lockdown defender and an attacking asset. And according to the Corriere dello Sport, Roma are tracking Medina, who Transfermarkt values at €10 million, and could make a move as soon as January, though they concede the deal may not come to fruition until the summer.
While Roma appears pretty well stocked at the backline, given Smalling's age and contractual status (he's only signed for one more season beyond the current campaign), there may soon be a vacancy on the Giallorossi backline. Besides this, given Medina's skill on the ball, it’s not inconceivable he can play full-back in a pinch.
We'll keep tabs on this rumor as it develops, but Medina is definitely an appealing addition for a club looking to get younger and more technical.