Of all the transfer headaches we've endured this summer, I'm not sure anyone saw this coming. A week after dismissing rumors of Nemanja Matic's exit, the veteran Serbian midfielder has reportedly agreed to personal terms with Rennes on a potential three-year deal, prompting the 35-year-old to formally request a transfer from the Giallorossi, according to reports in Italy, including La Repubblica.
After protracted transfer sagas that saw Roma miss out on Davide Frattessi and Gianluca Scamacca, among several other targets, José Mourinho is poised to lose his midfield lynchpin a week before the new season begins. With a longer and more lucrative deal on the table, it's hard to fault Matic, but the timing could hardly have been worse.
Nemanja #Matic has agreed personal terms with #StadeRennais for a contract until 2026 and has asked to #ASRoma to be sold. Roma want 7-8M to give the green light to his sale. #transfers https://t.co/sCaVjFYp1V— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) August 12, 2023
According to Nicolo Schira, the onus is now on Roma to acquiesce to Matic's demands, though they won't simply roll over. Now that Rennes and Matic have agreed to personal terms, the French club has very little leverage, so if he plays his card right, Tiago Pinto should be able to squeeze seven or eight million out of Rennes.
But that still leaves one small problem: Who takes his place?
According to Argentinian outlet TyC Sports, former Roma midfielder Leandro Paredes has agreed to a two-year deal with the Giallorossi. Paredes, 29, began his European career with the Giallorossi (technically, he played one match with Chievo first), spending parts of two seasons with Roma between 2014 and 2017, logging 52 appearances with the club.
Paredes has since played with Zenit, PSG, and Juventus, where he made 35 appearances last season. Given the timing of Matic's transfer request, Roma will likely be short-staffed for next week's opener against Salernitana. However, if we read the tea leaves, Roma will round out their midfield with Paredes and his former PSG teammate Renato Sanches.