Despite not being fierce rivals on the pitch, Roma and Sassuolo have a rather unique relationship. While the powers that be grapple with whether or not to allow top-flight clubs to have B-teams in lower leagues, Roma has used Sassuolo as a veritable petri dish over the past decade. From failed prospects like Luca Antei to success stories like Lorenzo Pellegrini, Roma has farmed out a lot of talent to Sassuolo over the years.
And the latest name coming off that production line is former Roma academy graduate Davide Frattesi. Like Pellegrini before him, Frattesi was the jewel of the Giallorossi academy, but economic forces conspired in the summer of 2017, forcing Roma to sell Frattesi to Sassuolo, though they were smart enough to retain a 30% future sell-on fee.
Thanks to that clever bit of accounting, Roma has had an upper hand on any rival for Frattesi's signature. Couple that with his desire to return home, and this transfer has always felt like a mere formality. However, despite the odds seemingly being in their favor, Roma hasn't been able to seal the deal for the 23-year-old midfielder.
Earlier this week, we sent word of a post-Christmas meeting between the Roma brass and Frattesi's representatives. And while that is still reportedly the case, calciomercato.com and La Gazzetta dello Sport added a new wrinkle to this rumor: the inclusion of Edoardo Bove and/or Christian Volpato.
With their 30% stake in any future Frattesi sale, Roma already has a discount baked into Sassuolo's €30 million appraisal of their prized midfielder. However, even at €21 million, Frattesi may prove too expensive for Roma, so the insertion of Bove, Volpato, or even both could knock Frattesi's price down to a more palatable €12 to €15 million, give or take.
Before you freak out about losing Bove or Volpato, let me just say: take a breath. For one, as enticing as Bove and Volpato may be, they haven't achieved much of anything yet. Young players are notoriously volatile, so the glimpses of talent we've seen from those two may be just that: glimpses. As exciting as their potential may be, how often do these U-23 kids live up to the billing? Are they worth missing out on a surer thing like Frattesi?
Second, and perhaps most important, Roma has always inserted some sell-on clause or right of first refusal in these de facto developmental deals with Sassuolo. They did it with Pellegrini and Frattesi, so we can be reasonably assured they'd do the same with Volpato and/or Bove.
And yes, that'd put us in the same boat a few years down the road, but so far, these wink-wink, nudge-nudge, it's not a co-ownership deals have worked out relatively well for both sides. Sassuolo enjoys the talent for a few years and makes a tidy profit when it's time to sell, while Roma receives a more refined player without having to shoulder the developmental costs directly.
While this once felt like a distant possibility for the summer, the Christmas fates are pointing towards a New Year's miracle for Roma's midfield.
Would you still want Frattesi if meant losing Bove and Volpato?
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