With the quarterfinals of this Winter World Cup looming, you might be surprised to learn that, yes, football journalists the world over have plenty to write about (factual and fictional) that isn’t related to the matches taking place in Qatar. In fact, several key rumors have popped up recently that could have major implications for the Giallorossi for both the winter and summer mercatos.
Will Arsenal Look to Abraham With Gabriel Jesus Injured?
The first and most jarring of these Is undoubtedly the rumor that Tammy Abraham may be on his way out of Rome. It would’ve been near-impossible to believe that this would be a reasonable rumor even six months ago, but times have changed for Tammy Two Goals. Out of all of Roma’s out-of-form forwards, you can make the argument that Abraham is the most out of form; I’ve lost track of how many times the English forward has squandered an excellent chance this season.
Yet Abraham’s pedigree (and success with Roma during his first Serie A season) means that even during a down year, big clubs will be thinking of him, and with Gabriel Jesus out for several months after sustaining an injury with the Brazilian National Team, it looks like Arsenal are envisioning Abraham as his replacement.
Even if this rumor is true, I don’t necessarily think it wise to part with Abraham just yet. All strikers have peaks and valleys of form, and Abraham’s first season in a Roma kit clearly showed that he’s able to be one of the best strikers on the Italian peninsula. Add in the fact that Arsenal are reportedly only interested in paying just about €80 million for Abraham (equivalent to Chelsea’s release clause that will come into play next summer), and I hope Tiago Pinto says thanks but no thanks.
I also hope that Abraham realizes that he can rediscover his form in Italy because if this move were to happen, I’m convinced it would be because Abraham views his Italian sojourn as a mistake after only a few months of poor form. Abraham’s better than that, and he can certainly handle Serie A still despite his poor form. Let’s hope all the involved parties (minus Arsenal) are aware of that fact.
Is Jarrad Branthwaite the New Max Kumbulla?
Shifting over to rumors concerning transfers in, it’s no secret that the Giallorossi are in the market for another defender. With Max Kumbulla seemingly halfway out the door and contract negotiations with Chris Smalling stalled, Tiago Pinto is within his rights to be sniffing around to find another center-back who can spell Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez when needed. One man who might fit that bill is 20-year-old PSV defender Jarrad Braithwaite, currently on loan in the Eredivisie from Everton.
Braithwaite certainly looks the part of a class center-back; at 6 foot 5 inches, he would tower over both Mancini and Ibañez, and all reports suggest that his time on loan with PSV has been quite intriguing. I’m not totally giving up the ghost on Max Kumbulla as a rotational player for Roma just yet, and part of me does wonder why Roma should bring in another young center-back talent if they’ll just ride the pine behind Roma’s well-established star defenders.
Still, the fact that Roma is mentioned as part of the Braithwaite sweepstakes is intriguing; maybe it’s just the Mourinho Effect, but it says something about Roma’s place in the hierarchy of European football that they may have a chance to pry away yet another Englishman from the Premier League.
Is Luka Modric the Next Free Agent Superstar for Roma?
Speaking of signs that Roma is moving up in the world: imagine Luka Modric in a Roma jersey. That’s a dream that I’ve had for many years, and although the 37-year-old Ballon d’Or winner is on the tail-end of his career, there’s no doubt that he’d be an excellent addition to this Giallorossi side. With rumors suggesting that Modric’s entourage will be looking outside of Spain for his next contract as his time with Real Madrid draws to a close, the Croatian just might end up being Tiago Pinto’s next superstar free agent signing for I Lupi. Several other teams are naturally interested in Modric’s services (who wouldn’t be, honestly), and he wouldn’t be a long-term solution in the midfield by any stretch of the imagination, but still... let me dream about this one, okay gang?
The quarterfinals of the World Cup begin on Friday; we’ll have our traditional matchday threads here for you all as those matches roll on, and be sure to let us know what you think about these Abraham, Branthwaite, and Modric rumors.