I have been following Roma for many, many years and covering them on a regular basis for the past six, and during that time Roma’s transfer business has, like any other club, run the gamut. Roma has unearthed gems (Marquinhos), given veterans new life (Luca Toni, Maicon, Aleksandar Kolarov), gambled on post-hype talents (Stephan El Shaarawy), missed horrifically (Seydou Doumbia, Victor Ibarbo) and knocked it out of the park (Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman, Alisson), but in all my time following and covering this team I’ve never seen anything quite like Bruno Peres.
We devoted an awful lot of column space to Peres before he signed in the summer of 2016 for one simple reason. Not only was he arguably the league’s best right back, he was a glove-like fit for a Roma side that was failing miserably to staff that position. So when he traded the Torino red for Roma red, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Peres’ ability on the ball, his speed and his playmaking were tailor made for Roma.
But Peres has been anything but a perfect fit for Roma since then, and as we discussed last March, some of that was beyond his control, as he was frequently played out of position, starting his tenure off as a left back and then being jostled between right back, right wing back and even right midfielder, all the while trying to figure out where he fit in Luciano Spalletti’s tactical schemes, which were also changing in subtle but significant (for Peres) ways.
However, that was last season, with Eusebio Di Francesco and his 4-3-3 or bust coming to town, Peres didn’t have to worry about his role changing, right? Right, the problem was simply his disastrous pre-season, which didn’t exactly engender him to EDF, casting him as spare parts rather than the savior he was meant to be in the summer of 2016.
All of which is to say, Peres’ marriage with Roma hasn’t worked out, and it's looking increasingly likely that it’s time to dissolve that union. By now you’ve no doubt read about the Peres to Benfica rumors, the season’s only substantive transfer rumor thus far. The latest word would see Peres move to the Portuguese side on the loan with an option to buy route, believed to be in the neighborhood of €9 million.
While that’s a far cry from the €16 million they spent two summers ago, they may have no choice, as Peres has absolutely no place in EDF’s rotation. The tricky part is that, if this is a loan, the direct injection of cash won’t come until the summer, which won’t help Roma secure a replacement in the short-term.
So if this is truly it for Peres’ career in Roma, his epitaph should read “Not what he was with Torino, but not nearly as bad as you remember.”