It’s now mid-June, international football is over for the summer, and the official opening of the summer transfer market is now just two weeks away. And, as expected, the rumor mill has begun to churn out plenty of calciomercato stories, with Roma, as usual, right in the middle of many of them.
That’s not all that surprising, but with José Mourinho in charge and Roma coming off its first trophy in fourteen seasons, this summer’s transfer market has taken on extra life. Tiago Pinto and the Friedkins are now tasked with improving the Giallorossi for The Special One as he tries to build on last season’s Conference League title with more prestigious accomplishments.
While last summer’s mercato—Pinto and Mourinho’s first as a tandem—was all about clearing out the dead weight and replacing key players (both departed and injured), this one will focus on adding quality and depth.
With that in mind, most of the rumors so far this season have focused on who Roma will bring in rather than who will depart. So, with the rumors swirling, let’s take a look at who Roma’s been linked with this week and rate their fit with the club.
Rating This Week's Rumors
Davide Frattesi: Midfield (Sassuolo)
The Roma primavera product has let it be known that he’d welcome back a move to the Giallorossi. And after a breakout season with the Neroverdi, Frattesi earned his first Italy senior cap and drew the attention of big clubs from around the peninsula. At just 22-years-old Frattesi looks to have a high ceiling and could be the perfect fit as a Jordan Veretout replacement.
Given the fit, Roma is pursuing Frattesi with real intent. And the Giallorossi appear to be the front runners to bring the young Roman back home. He won’t come cheap, but Roma has some extra negotiating leverage given they retain 30% of any future Frattesi sale. The rumors have Frattesi valued at €30 million, which Roma could reduce by including two youngsters (likely Cristian Volpato and Felix Afena-Gyan).
Rating the Fit
9/10- If the price was a bit less, I’d go 10/10 here, but €20 million and two top prospects add just a bit of risk to the move. However, if Roma pulls this off and have some patience with Frattesi, we could see him blossom much like Pellegrini after his two years in Emilia-Romagna.
Zeki Çelik: Right-Back (Lille)
Much like Frattesi, Çelikwas linked with Roma prior to this transfer window, but the deal looks even more likely given the latest reports. The 25-year-old Turkish international has spent four seasons at Lille and has drawn plenty of praise for his game. The rumored price to close a deal could be in the €7-8 million range, which could end up being a bargain for Çelik.
Çelik wouldn’t be brought in to be a surefire starter at right-back, but as a complement to Rick Karsdorp. Right back is a position that Roma has struggled to fill for many years, so this could be a massive move. Landing the Turk would give Roma two starting quality players and lessen the workload on Karsdorp, who looked gassed by the Conference League Final.
Rating the Fit
10/10- Romanisti don’t have to be told just how hard it’s been to fill the RB position through the years. Karsdorp has been a revelation, but landing a more defensive complement to him, who is entering his prime years for under €10 million, looks like a potential coup.
Houssem Aouar: Attacking Midfield (Lyon)
Aouar is a name that was linked with Roma last week, as Brandon reported. However, the rumors have begun to grow louder in recent days. Reports claim that Roma has actually formulated its first offer of around €20 million for the soon-to-be 24-year-old Frenchman whose contract expires in another season.
Aouar is an attacking midfielder/winger who would be brought in to fill the creative role vacated by the departure of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. According to FB Reference, Aouar ranks in the 88th percentile or better in many passing and carrying statistics across Europe’s big five leagues over the last year. So, it’s clear why Pinto would be interested in bringing in a player of his characteristics. However, there could be competition from Premier League sides Arsenal and Liverpool.
Rating the Fit
7/10- While Aouar’s game seems like it could bring different qualities to Mourinho’s side, there could be some risks to this move. While his numbers are good, they aren’t eye-popping. And the jump to a better league could make it hard for Aouar to replicate what he’s done for Lyon. He has a lot of talent but hasn’t really exploded yet. Plus, the competition from Premier League sides could drive up the price beyond what Roma is willing to pay.
With the rumor mill bound to pick up the pace, be sure to check back with us as we track all the news surrounding Roma's summer transfer market. In the meantime, let us know what you think of these current links!