With the free agent signings of Houssem Aouar and Evan Ndicka, plus Chris Smalling's two-year contract extension, Roma’s summer transfer market is off to a busy start, and the roster for the 2023-24 season is beginning to take shape. That being said, these are still the nascent days of the summer 2023 edition of calciomercato and there’s still plenty of work to do for Tiago Pinto as he tries to build a roster capable of competing on three fronts while staying within the FFP confines.
And with that task occupying the Roma GM, there has been plenty of speculation about who else could be arriving and departing in the coming days, weeks, and even months before the 2023-24 season officially kicks off in August.
So, let’s take a look at the rumors that occupied the airwaves and pages of various sites, including this one, over the last few days.
Scamacca and Morata Continue to be Linked at Striker
After Tammy Abraham’s torn ACL in the last match of the season, it became clear that the Giallorossi would have to find another starting-caliber striker to replace him on the roster. While names like Mauro Icardi have come and gone, two have continued to be bandied around: Gianluca Scamacca and Alvaro Morata. We’ve kept you up to date with the Scamacca rumors throughout the week, and reports continue to insist that the player has made it known that he’d like to return to his home city.
However, the clubs must find an agreement on a formula for his transfer. It seems like Roma would like the player on loan with a potential option to buy. Meanwhile, West Ham would prefer a more permanent move to recoup some of the €36 million+€6 million in bonuses that it spent last summer to bring the Italian in from Sassuolo. In fact, on Friday, Gianluca Di Marzio reported that West Ham has given Roma a negative response to its initial loan plus option offer.
On the other hand, Morata’s name continues to resurface with his affordable release clause of 10 million being known. It’s said that he also would enjoy a move to Roma to play for Jose Mourinho and with his good friend Paulo Dybala.
Our Take: Based on the names they've been linked to so far, Roma is clearly looking for a high-upside striker, though at this point, Morata feels like the backup plan to Scamacca. Ultimately, it feels like Scamacca will end up at Roma, given the player’s desire.
Nevertheless, given that both clubs seem to be holding firm to their preferred transfer formula, this could drag on for weeks. Ultimately, a loan with obligation or an easily attainable option seems the most likely route given Roma’s finances. I only see Morata arriving in Rome if, for some reason, Scamacca falls apart or Roma grows impatient with West Ham.
Roma Miss Out on Frattesi; Skhiri Linked
The arrival of Aouar has boosted Roma’s depth in the attacking midfield, but with Mady Camara and Gini Wijnaldum not being brought back, the central midfield needs more bodies. Even with the emergence of Edoardo Bove, Roma could use at least one more name to join him, Matic, and Cristante for the double pivot rotation.
The hot name has been Davide Frattesi. The 23-year-old Trigoria product has been linked with his boyhood club since last summer. And while Pinto met with Carnevali to discuss Frattesi and other players a few days ago, the latest reports are suggesting that Inter Milan is now Frattesi’s preferred destination, and the clubs are working on a loan with €35 million obligation plus a youngster heading to Emilia-Romagna.
If there is truth to that, then that could be why out-of-contract Koln midfielder Ellyes Skhiri has been linked with the Giallorossi. Gazzetta dello Sport is also reporting that Skhiri’s entourage has approached Roma about the possibility of the Tunisian arriving in the Italian capital. Other names mentioned this week were Renato Sanches of PSG and Youssouf Fofana of Monaco. Meanwhile, the eye-catching rumor of Marco Verratti ended up being called out as fake.
Our Take: It’s looking more and more like Roma not striking a deal for Frattesi last summer is going to come back and bite them. If that is the case, then one has to wonder how the formula of Inter’s deal affects Roma’s 30% sell-on clause. If it ends up being a loan with an obligation, then Roma may have to wait until next summer to collect their share, which rounds out to approximately €10 million.
Meanwhile, the Skhiri rumors are fresh, and it seems like it was an approach from the player rather than the Giallorossi. But, given Roma’s approach with free agents of late, it wouldn’t surprise me if this gains some traction in the coming days.
Llorente Could Return; Roma Make Elvedi Offer
Ndicka’s arrival is a noteworthy coup for Mourinho and Pinto after the likes of Barcelona, and others were also interested. However, with Roger Ibañez likely on the way out and Max Kumbulla out with his own ACL injury, another center-back will be needed. Most reports indicate that Mourinho would like to bring back Diego Llorente, who spent the spring on loan with the Giallorossi. Yet, the 18 million price tag on his option to buy is considered excessive. So, Roma will be looking to either renew the loan or get a big discount on a permanent transfer.
Meanwhile, the newest link that has emerged is that of Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi. And reports from BILD are going so far as to say that Roma has made an initial bid for the Swiss defender. The bid, according to BILD, is for 15 million.
Our Take: The Llorente deal makes sense for obvious reasons. He’s familiar with the squad and performed well when called upon, so this deal should happen sooner rather than later. The Elvedi deal doesn’t seem to make sense with the arrival of Ndicka, resigning of Smalling, and Llorente's presumptive return. Elvedi is a starter at Monchengladbach, so it’s unlikely he’d come to Rome to be the 4th or 5th CB. A less high-profile name seems more likely as the 5th option.
Gollini and Cakir Linked
With veteran Rui Patricio just a year away from his contract expiring, Roma has been linked with a few keepers. Reports indicate that a new keeper would be brought in to take over cup duties, with Patricio handling league matches. Additionally, Mile Svilar would have to be sent away on loan to prove his abilities for the long term.
Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Roma is prepared to offer between 10 and 12 million for Trabzonspor keeper Ugurcan Cakir. And La Repubblica has linked Atalanta keeper Pierluigi Gollini with the Giallorossi. However, a formula has not been discussed.
Our Take: The fact that Roma may bring in a new keeper isn't insignificant—there would be weight to this move. If Roma wants to see what it has in Svilar, then a loan makes the most sense. In this case, a corresponding loan move for Gollini would be more prudent than splashing cash on Cakir. If Svilar proves to be the real deal, then Roma can pocket that 10 to 12 million, finding a cheaper reserve to back him up. And if he’s not the answer, then Roma is free to invest in a bona fide starter next summer.
That's it for now. Stay tuned, there are sure to be more rumors tomorrow!