While we spent yesterday lamenting Roma's seemingly waning pursuit of former Torino forward Andrea Belotti, José Mourinho's last-minute wishlist also includes another central defender. With the transfer window set to close on September 1st, and the club reportedly worried about the toll injuries and suspensions may take on their three-man defense, Mourinho and GM Tiago Pinto have compiled a dossier of defenders to round out the Giallorossi backline.
Throughout the summer, we've discussed oft-injured options like Manchester United's Eric Bailly and former Borussia Dortmund lefty Dan-Axel Zagadou. Those risks certainly aren't without their rewards, but according to the Corriere dello Sport, Pinto and Mourinho are keen on a different Dortmund defender: Manuel Akanji.
A 27-year-old Swiss center-back, Akanji has been a mainstay for BVB, racking up over 100 league appearances since signing with the club in 2017, including 25 starts last season. Akanji stands a respectable 187 cm in the air and is your classic ball-playing defender, ranking 85th percentile or higher among center-backs in Europe's five major leagues in passes completed, long passes, progressive passes, and even passes into the final third.
With his contract set to expire in June, Dortmund is actively shopping Akanji, reportedly making inroads with Inter Milan. Akanji wouldn't necessarily supplant any of Roma's top center-backs, but in terms of tactical fit and experience, he seems like an ideal backup to Chris Smalling, Roger Ibañez, and Gianluca Mancini.
Currently valued at €30 million by Transfermarkt, he certainly won't come cheap, but with an expiring contract, Roma may be able to find a slight bargain here.