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Now That Roma Has Dybala, What Comes Next?

Roma signed a generational talent in Paulo Dybala, but the squad isn't quite complete. Where should the Giallorossi turn next?

US Latina Calcio v US Citta di Palermo - Serie B Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Paulo Dybala is a generational talent, the type of player who can change a club's fortunes with the power of his presence alone. Dybala is the closest thing to a Francesco Totti clone we'll ever see, thanks to his almost ethereal blend of creativity, aggression, finishing, and little extra panache that only true stars possess. And when combined with the talents of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Tammy Abraham, and Nicolo Zaniolo—who looks poised to remain with Roma after weeks of being linked with Juventus—the Giallorossi's attack promises to be the envy of the league.

But it takes more than goals to win a Scudetto. Tiago Pinto has done an impeccable job trimming the fat from Roma's roster while landing capable veterans like Nemanja Matic and Zeki Celik; players José Mourinho can drop into any lineup without batting an eye.

While that's all well and good, Pinto's finishing touches could determine whether Roma are pretenders or contenders this season, so let's take a quick look at the final items on Tiago Pinto's summer shopping list.

Remaining Areas of Need

AS Roma U19 V FC Internazionale U19 - Primavera 1 Playoff Final Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Hard-Nosed Midfielder

We'll refrain from limiting this discussion solely to defensive midfielders because Matic should assume that role for much of the season. With Roma's midfield heavy on grace and light on grit, Pinto's top priority should be adding a bit of nasty to the Giallorossi midfield.

This could be a tried and true defensive midfielder like Florian Grillitsch (though he seems bound for Galatasaray), a hybrid center-mid with a slight defensive bent like PSG's Giorgio Wijnaldum or Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi, or a jackknife like Marcel Sabitzer, who can conceivably fill half a dozen roles for Mourinho.

They could even lean heavy into the youth movement and throw Edoardo Bove's feet to the fire, but whatever route Pinto chooses, Roma's midfield needs more grinta if they're to survive three competitions this season.

Other names to consider: Saúl, Lucas Torreira, Leandro Paredes, Jorginho

A Backup Striker

With 27 goals in all competitions last season, Tammy Abraham's Roman debut was the stuff of legend. Still, with only three strikes in his final ten matches, Tammy Two Goals felt the effects of being Roma's only option up top—the Slim Reaper needs help this season (when you score two goals in a game as many times as he did, you get two nicknames). Whether it's a like-for-like backup, a wide player capable of playing centrally, or the second coming of Jan Venegoor of Hesselink, Abraham needs help up top.

While the search for a second striker hasn't dominated the transfer headlines, Roma has been linked to Andrea Belotti, Luis Muriel, and Wilfried Zaha, among others. This new striker has to be someone comfortable with playing second fiddle to Abraham. Still, the ability to play alongside him would undoubtedly aid their case for playing time while also making Mourinho's attack impossible to predict.

Other names to consider: Antonio Sanabria, Dries Mertens, Wout Weghorst.


For most of the summer, Roma has been linked with their nouveau nemesis Ola Solbakken, who scored three goals against the Giallorossi in last year's Europa Conference League. And just like they did with Dybala, Napoli is hot on Roma's trails in the chase for the 23-year-old Norwegian winger/forward. Admittedly, a crafty winger is pretty low on the shopping list, but with the club reportedly shopping Carles Pérez and Stephan El Shaarawy, Pinto may be searching for a fleet-footed wide forward. The Solbakken trail has seemingly gone cold for both clubs, but now that Roma has landed their big fish, perhaps they'll circle back to the Bodø boy before the season begins.

Other names to consider: Matteo Politano, Dries Mertens, Isco.

Depending on what happens with Marash Kumbulla, who hit his stride late last season, we could add a fourth center-back to this list (most likely Marcos Senesi), but we'll save that for the next installment.

Thanks to the hard work he put in this summer, Tiago Pinto can rest on his laurels for the next six weeks, and Roma will still be in the mix for the top four. However, with a couple of finishing touches, Pinto could vault the Giallorossi into the Scudetto conversation, cementing his status among the league's best executives in the process.

What do you think? How should Roma follow up the Dybala signing? What is the club missing?