While Roma is working behind the scenes to secure Union Berlin center-back and former Juventus standout Leonardo Bonucci, he's not the only name on the Giallorossi's winter wish list. According to multiple sources in Italy, Roma is joining the queue for Fluminense defender Marcilio Florêncio Mota Filho, better known as Nino.
A 6’2” center-back, Nino, 26, has spent the past five seasons with Fluminense, making 143 appearances for the club while adding eight goals and three assists for good measure. Valued at €11 million by Transfermarkt, Nino has made his European aspirations well known and has drawn interest from Roma, Feyenoord, Nottingham Forest, Fulham, and even Liverpool, among others.
With his contract set to expire in December 2024, Nino's deal reportedly includes a €7 million release clause. While that is pennies in today's marketplace, given how cash-poor the Giallorossi are, it may prove a bridge too far for General Manager Tiago Pinto. Nevertheless, while Bonucci represents short-term help, Nino could provide a bridge to Roma's Chris Smalling-less future next season and beyond.
While 26 is a bit late for a player to make their first jump abroad, Roma has certainly found success with Brazilian center-backs in the past, and, at least based on his de rigueur highlight reel, Nino has a feel for defending, even if he doesn't appear to be the most athletic figure at the back.
This rumor is likely just Roma doing their due diligence on an intriguing player. While Nino could very well catch Italy by storm, chances are Roma will go the cheaper, more experienced route with Bonucci.
Still, as this season has proven, you can never have enough defenders, so we shouldn't completely dismiss this story.