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Report: Roma To Sign Sardar Azmoun From Bayer Leverkusen on Loan

After Atalanta pulled a bunch of shenanigans around a nearly-done deal for Duvan Zapata, Tiago Pinto quickly pivoted to Beyer Leverkusen's Sardar Azmoun, who will arrive on a loan with an option to buy.

FC Schalke 04 v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Roma’s transfer market escapades this season can be best described as a total slog. While certain moves happened in a flash, Roma’s hunt for a second striker to complement Andrea Belotti has hit snag after snag, and when Gian Piero Gasperini reportedly blocked Duvan Zapata’s move to Roma, it seemed like Roma might never get their striker.

Well, if you believe Fabrizio Romano and Filippo Biafora, the hunt for a new striker is over.

Completely out of the blue, Serie A journalists started reporting this morning that instead of continuing to push for Duvan Zapata, Tiago Pinto decided to go in a different direction: signing Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun from Bayer Leverkusen and fulfilling one of José Mourinho’s original requests when he signed with Roma back in 2021.

Of course, back in 2021, Roma was unable to sign Azmoun and instead went to Eldor Shomurodov, while after his near-move to Roma, Azmoun continued with Zenit for one more season before moving to Leverkusen in the summer of 2022. Now, with both Roma and Azmoun unsatisfied with their current situations, it looks as if the Iranian Messi will truly be wearing a Roma kit.

Azmoun comes to Roma on an inexpensive loan with an option deal (what else), with that option valued at somewhere between €10 and €12 million. As opposed to the rumored Zapata deal, which Atalanta reportedly was finally going to accept this morning until Pinto decided to sign Azmoun, bringing in Azmoun on an inexpensive loan with an option likely leaves the door open for the Giallorossi to push hard for a January signing of Marcos Leonardo. A loan signing also makes Roma’s depth chart at striker seem slightly more manageable if Marcos Leonardo is signed, Belotti rediscovers his form, and Tammy Abraham returns from injury. {Editor's Note: Azmoun would be Roma’s second Non-EU player and could potentially complicate any Marcos Leonardo transfer}

There are some hitches that prevent this move from being a perfect transfer, despite Roma seeming to beat out AC Milan for the striker’s signature. First is the simple matter that Azmoun is reportedly injured in the short-term, with a reported return date of early September. That injury might make him feel right at home with Roma, but it doesn’t solve the immediate problems the Giallorossi are facing in terms of striker depth.

Perhaps more concerning is that Azmoun will undoubtedly be called up by the Iranian National Team for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, which takes place between January 12 and February 10 of 2024. Is it really worthwhile to bring in a striker on loan who’s unavailable right now and is almost guaranteed to be unavailable for an entire month later in the season?

This rumor seems to becoming reality incredibly fast, so expect more analysis on the Sardar Azmoun front once he’s landed in Rome. Keep an eye out on the Marcos Leonardo transfer saga as well, as reports indicate that Manchester United might be trying to swoop in on Roma’s pre-agreement with Santos. So that’s fun.