The timing of Tiago Pinto’s announcement that he would depart Roma always seemed interesting to me. The Giallorossi clearly want to have a new General Manager in charge before the summer mercato, but why announce that your current GM will be leaving the club right after the January mercato closes?
At first glance, it made me think that Pinto would have less muscle to flex in a very important transfer window for Roma; after all, why would you negotiate in good faith with a guy that you know is out the door in a few weeks?
Despite that, it certainly seems as if Tiago Pinto is intent on going out of Trigoria with a bang. Reports now suggest that following Matias Viña’s departure from Rome, the transfer of Spanish fullback Angeliño is essentially down to the paperwork — on a loan with an option to buy for €5 million that becomes an obligation if the Giallorossi qualify for the Champions League this season. Gianluca Di Marzio reports that the only thing left for Roma to sort out is the termination of Angeliño’s loan to Galatasaray.
This is the kind of move that I expect from Roma: a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward move that takes a player who never amounted to much in the Giallorossi kit and turns him into a new option with promise. At this point, Angeliño is what he is — a 27-year-old journeyman fullback who can be a decent rotation option. If he impresses in Rome, great. If he doesn’t, Roma can look for alternatives in July.
For my money, though, the far more interesting transfer saga that’s developing in the last days of the winter mercato is Roma’s apparent run at Empoli’s Tommaso Baldanzi. Baldanzi has been heralded as the future of the Italian National Team and more, and while he hasn’t impressed nearly as much this season as he did last year, a move for him would give Daniele De Rossi an important reinforcement now and provide whoever is leading the Giallorossi in the future with a talented gem to polish in the years to come.
A Baldanzi transfer likely wouldn’t be cheap; sources are suggesting that Roma will need to agree to an obligation to purchase the Italian attacker for €15 million and throw in Riccardo Pagano to satisfy Empoli. Yet this is the exact kind of deal that Roma should be making, cost be damned. If it ends up happening, I’ll be very impressed with Tiago Pinto’s last hurrah in Rome—and I’ll be very curious to see where he lands next.
Watch this space — within the next few days, Roma may very well sign two key players for their fight for a Champions League spot.