With Gianluca Scamacca’s surprise move to Atalanta completed, La Dea now finds itself with a surplus of strikers. Meanwhile, Roma still finds itself in need of a striker after missing out on the aforementioned Scamacca. And as the dominos begin to fall, Roma is now linked with two of those wantaway Atalanta strikers: Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel.
Earlier on Monday, it was reported that Luis Muriel was offered to Roma and that Tiago Pinto was reflecting on Muriel as a veteran striker option. Then later in the day, Gianluca Di Marzio reported that Pinto used the Muriel discussions to enquire about Zapata.
Then just a short time ago, Di Marzio revealed that Roma is, in fact negotiating with Atalanta to bring Zapata in on loan with an option to buy. At the moment, Atalanta would rather sell the player outright. Zapata has two years left on his deal (Muriel’s expires in June), and La Dea would rather not be stuck with him after a loan spell.
Both players would stand as low-cost moves to beef up Jose Mourinho’s striker options. And with Roma still hot on the heels of Marcos Leonardo, Zapata or Muriel would add veteran depth to complement Leonardo and Andrea Belotti while Tammy Abraham works his way back in the spring.
However, this could be a classic buyer-beware situation. Over the last several years, the two Colombians have been key cogs in the Gasperini tactical machine, but both players, now in their early 30s, saw their roles diminish last season thanks to the emergence of Rasmus Hojlund (and injuries in Zapata’s case).
Last season, Zapata played just under 1,400 minutes, scoring two league goals, while Muriel played just over 1,000 minutes with three league goals to his name. While Muriel has routinely played more of a super-sub role, his minutes weren’t down a ton, but his goal output was, dropping from 1.38 per 90 in 2020-2021 to 0.53 in 2021-2022 to just 0.25 last season. A similar trend emerged with Zapata over his five seasons with Atalanta, with his league goals decreasing each season (23-18-15-10-2).
In spite of this, with their options dwindling, Roma could be enticed to make a play for Zapata, Muriel, or even 34-year-old Marko Arnautovic of Bologna.
So, what do you think? Are these two veteran Colombians the right fit for Mourinho’s side, or should Pinto look elsewhere in addition to Leonardo?