The summer mercato is always a tense time for Romanisti, but with the Giallorossi officially in the afterglow of their first European trophy in decades, you would think that the tifosi might rest on their laurels for at least a couple of weeks. You’d be wrong, though, as the internet has been aflame with complaints that Tiago Pinto hasn’t been moving fast enough in turning Roma from a Conference League-winning side to a Champions League-qualifying one. Personally, I’ve thought these complaints were overblown, it’s only mid-June, the rumor mill has been thick with intriguing names, and I’m happier with Tiago Pinto’s time as GM than I have been with any former DS save Walter Sabatini. Patience is a virtue.
However, today is the day where patience has become unnecessary for Romanisti, as the Giallorossi announced their first signing of the summer. Free-agent Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matić has officially signed a one-year contract with the Giallorossi, reuniting him with José Mourinho and providing Roma some much-needed depth in midfield:
Here’s what Matić had to say after being unveiled as a Roma player:
I am pleased and honoured to be joining this club and I cannot wait to start the new season with my teammates... Roma is a big club, with amazing fans and a coach, Jose Mourinho, who is well known to everyone – making the decision to come here very straightforward... I hope that by working together we are able to achieve some great things.
At 33, Matić may not be the flashiest first signing Roma could’ve made, but his signing showcases the power of winning while also suggesting that the Giallorossi faithful can expect bigger and better signings in the coming weeks. On the first point, while it was great that José Mourinho was able to convince the likes of Tammy Abraham to join the Giallorossi, the allure of a superstar manager can only go so far in bringing intriguing players to Rome. Winning that Conference League trophy will have long-lasting benefits for the psyche of the entire Roma squad, but it will also make experienced players far more interested in coming to the Stadio Olimpico. Matić’s signing, though likely a depth move, is a key example of this.
For Roma to rejoin the ranks of the clubs that almost always reach a Champions League slot, Tiago Pinto has to provide José Mourinho with the depth and options necessary to rotate and win when the Giallorossi have multiple matches per week. Part of developing that depth will be signing players like Davide Frattesi, who looks like he may rejoin his boyhood club in the coming weeks; part of that will be shooting for the moon and chasing players like Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gündögan and soon-to-be-Inter player Paulo Dybala, and part of that will be key depth signings like Matić. The most important thing mildly disappointed Romanisti should remember is that this may be the first signing of the summer mercato, but it almost certainly won’t be the last.