A couple of weeks ago, when discussing the prospect of Mario Balotelli signing with Roma, we mentioned the obvious pitfalls to that deal (mostly Balotelli’s checkered history) but there was actually another, fiercer demon to tangle with—his agent Mino Raiola. The game’s biggest and “best” agent is one of the few non-players or owners who can shape and mold the future of a club, and while Roma has yet to sign his most (in)famous client, they do currently employ one of his most prized prospects, Luca Pellegrini.
If you’re like me, you probably falsely assumed that Luca was related to Lorenzo Pellegrini. I mean, they’re both Romans born and bred and both led the Primavera squads to glory, so it seemed reasonable. However, after that embarrassment wore off you realized that Luca Pellegrini is a stud in his own right.
Clocking in at number seven on our annual U-23 countdown, Pellegrini’s performance at the youth level, and his mere inclusion in Eusebio Di Francesco’s summer program, gave credence to our Gianluca Zambrotta comparisons. However, as is so often the case with Roma fullbacks he, you know, tore his ACL. Pellegrini followed that up with a fractured knee cap in December, from which he has only recently returned, garnering a couple of bench appearances this spring.
Were it not for all his injuries, the future of Luca Pellegrini would have been another among many stressors for Roma fans this season. With his youth team deal set to expire in June, had Pellegrini hit the ground running with the first team this year, Raiola surely would have been working the phone, trying to flip his client to PSG or Chelsea or the Monstars.
So in that vein, Pellegrini’s misfortune was Roma’s good luck, as it bought the club a bit of time to work out and new deal with Pellegrini, and, hey, look at this!
Today the club announced a new deal for Pellegrini, locking the 19-year-old fullback into the city of his birth through 2022. Upon signing the deal, Pellegrini affirmed his desire to translate his passion for the club to the pitch:
I am passionate about Roma and always wanted this renewal, as those who know me know. It is not easy to explain such a great feeling in words – but I hope to show it on the pitch.
While Aleksandar Kolarov has been a revelation at left back this season, it goes without saying the club needs to run two-deep at that position, and if Pellegrini can put his injury woes behind, he has enormous potential and could be the latest in a long line of Romans leading Roma.