Get your surprised face ready. A mere 24 hours ago, Roma and Santos had seemingly agreed to a €15 million transfer for 20-year-old striker Marcos Leonardo. While nothing was set in stone, the two sides were reportedly down to the details, having only to iron out the payment schedule before making the deal official. And according to reports on both sides of the Atlantic, those minor details are now redundant, as Santos is reportedly pushing for a higher transfer fee, potentially killing the deal altogether.
While the day began with optimism that the two sides could reach an agreement—Gianluca Di Marzio claimed the deal was on standby but that Marcos' agent could mend fences—reports from Brazil paint a decidedly uglier picture.
Brazilian outlet UOL Esporte claims that Santos director and former Roma player Falcao has all but nixed the deal for Marcos (translation courtesy of Fabrizio Romano):
Santos coordinator Falcão: “No chance to make the deal happen with Roma for Marcos Leonardo”. ⚪️⚫️— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 3, 2023
“The conditions are far from realistic, the proposal is too low. No chance for the fee and terms of payment. I can’t see how this can happen”. pic.twitter.com/VNJfhLhGlq
There are conflicting reports regarding both the payment schedule and the exact amounts, as reported by UOL Esporte. Roma's initial €8 million offer, which would have climbed to €15 million with bonuses (tied to appearances and Roma qualifying and/or winning a European competition—the translation was a bit janky) plus a 10% sell-on fee, was rejected by Santos.
Meanwhile, Leonardo's representatives claim that Roma offered €10 million cash-on-the-barrel with bonuses that were "easily achievable." UOL claims that the €10 million + €8 million in bonuses reported by the Italian media on Wednesday was never presented to Santos.
According to their report, Santos is using Chelsea's recent acquisition of Angelo Gabriel as the benchmark for Leonardo. Angelo, a now former Santos winger, moved to Stamford Bridge last month for €15 million.
While UOL concedes that negotiations with Roma will continue, multiple English clubs are showing interest in Leonardo, putting yesterday's surprising news in jeopardy of collapsing completely.