With New Year’s Eve firmly in the rearview mirror, and the accompanying hangovers fully subsided, it’s now time to focus squarely on the winter transfer window. While the rumors and transfer suggestions had been trickling in for weeks, the floodgates have burst wide open, with rumors coming at us from every angle.
As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes this morning, I was greeted with the inevitable but still absurd notion that Roma would capitulate and sell Alisson to either PSG or Liverpool. And while the Merseysiders were able to fleece Roma last summer for Mohamed Salah—who is playing so well they might be able to triple their investment when they sell him to Barcelona this summer—I find it hard to believe they’d be so foolish as to part with the Brazilian Don Draper so soon.
However, if my many years following this club has taught me one thing, it’s that Roma’s management treats their players like so many words on a page; kill your darlings. No man is safe when the bottom line stands to benefit. So as much as I love Alisson—who is far and away the best keeper this club has had in at least a decade—if PSG comes calling, he’s as good as gone. Roma is very much a supermarket, despite Mochi’s protestations otherwise.
But, the good thing about supermarkets is that they also buy inventory. And, hey, look at that, the rumor mill swung both ways today! And once again, the rumors are squarely focused on Roma’s right wing, which has been a spot of bother this season in case you hadn’t noticed.
The first man on that list is one familiar to Serie A fans, Barcelona’s redundant winger, Gerard Deulofeu, who has struggled to find minutes in his return to Catalonia. However, you may recall that the 23-year-old Spaniard put on quite the show for AC Milan during a six month loan last season, scoring four goals and providing three assists in 17 appearances.
While that’s all well and good, the name that probably your cockles up was none other than our old pal Riyad Mahrez, the inverted winger of Eusebio Di Francesco’s dreams. As you may recall, Roma and Leicester City danced around the transfer of the Algerian winger last summer, with the reported fee ranging north of €50 million before all was said and done. In the end, Roma balked at that price before snagging Gregoire Defrel and making a last minute splash for Patrik Schick, who is neither inverted, nor a winger.
While many, myself included, raked Mahrez over the coals for riding one spectacular season to that €50 million valuation, he’s clapped back this season, registering seven goals and seven assists in the Premiership thus far, but with Leicester mired in the middle of the table, folks would have you believe that Mahrez might be available this winter, if the price is right.
Before you go getting excited, pump those brakes, kid. Roma has a) never spent that much on anyone, and b)seldom spends large amounts during the January transfer window, so this rumor may not hold much weight.
I suppose it’s somewhat ironic that the last time Roma were desperately chasing wingers during the winter was when they were led by a struggling, wing-mad manager. Fortunately for Roma, Rudi Garcia was canned and Luciano Spalletti turned Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti into vital cogs in his machine. EDF needs a few things to right this ship, but I’m not sure a right winger is top of the list.
Nevertheless, strap yourselves in, this could be an interesting window.