While we’ve spent the two weeks or so since the season ended—yes, it’s only been two weeks, give or take—fretting over who Roma will lose, ceaselessly debating who’s more readily replaced, Antonio Rüdgier or Mohamed Salah, there wasn’t much debate about Radja Nainggolan. Even if you removed his skill and tenacity from the picture, he is perhaps second only to Daniele De Rossi among players who “get it”, who understand the mentality and romanticism that comes along with AS Roma, so there was always ample reason to resign him.
Fortunately for us, Nainggolan is also a pretty talented player, easily among the top five midfielders in the world, a point not lost Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United or Judas Spalletti’s Inter Milan side, both of whom were attempting to lure Nainggolan away from his adopted home.
And while we’ve long known that Nainggolan loves life in Rome, he is man like any other; he has a breaking point. Nainggolan has turned away several suitors since arriving several seasons ago, suitors who could promise more money and an easier path to glory, so it was only natural for Nainggolan to expect the club to treat him in kind.
I’ve already said that I want to stay in Roma, I’ve made a promise. I’ve always respected them, now it’s Roma’s turn and we’ll see if they do the same. I’m a man of my word and Roma have also made me a promise.I’m waiting. I’m not giving an ultimatum, I’m happy at Roma.
Well, it looks like Nainggolan’s patience has paid off. According to the Gazzetta dello Sport (isn’t there an Italian word for ‘sport’ btw?), Roma are prepping a new contract extension for Nainggolan, one that will pay him a reported €4 million per season through the 2021 season. And while this small one million pay raise may not seem like much, it is a symbol of the club’s value in not only Nainggolan’s ability but a recognition of his loyalty.
If and when Nainggolan signs this new deal (things are never that easy with Roma in case you hadn’t noticed), the club would be a perfect three-for-three in wrapping up their midfielders, as Nainggolan’s extension would follow those signed by Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman. This club knows where its bread is buttered, so kudos to them for locking that trio up.
We’ve said it before, but Nainggolan’s transformation since arriving at Roma has been nothing short of amazing. From a mere Kevin Strootman fill-in to a genuine leader of the club and world beating midfielder, Nainggolan’s ascendence in Rome has been a sight to behold, so here’s to many more years of bone jarring slide tackles, forehead smacking shots from distance and bulging veined celebrations.
Good to have you back, Radja.