Follow the sport for even a modicum of time and you’re well aware that international breaks have a methamphetamine-like impact on the rumor mill. With no actual league play to discuss, something...anything...has to fill the headlines, and more often than not those idle journalistic hands become the devil’s playground, connecting player A to club Z with little regard for reality. However, as we discussed yesterday, Premiership cash has a tendency to erase those concerns; if a British club, particularly one of the traditional powerhouses, wants a player, more often than not they get them.
It was in that light that we discussed the possibility of Lorenzo Pellegrini moving to Manchester United. With the Red Devils desperate to reclaim their throne—or, let’s be honest, just get above Watford—trivial concerns like release clauses and loyalty won’t slow them down; Jose Mourinho’s offense needs inspiration and they’ve seemingly found it in the form of Roma’s latest local legend in the making.
With United reportedly set to trigger Pellegrini’s €30 million release clause, Monchi is (again, reportedly) scrambling to sign his 22-year-old midfielder to a new, more lucrative deal. As the story goes, United are ready, willing, and able to double Pellegrini’s €1 million wages through the 2022 season, a prospect sure to get Monchi’s beard tingling.
I’m not sure about you, but if I’m making one million a year and someone offers me two million a year, I’m certainly going to listen, particularly if that ‘someone’ is Manchester United, one of two or three truly global clubs. While Roma can’t match United’s historical luster, making the switch to Old Trafford these days doesn’t bring with it a deluge of trophies. Under Mourinho’s reign, United has finished sixth and a distant second (19 points adrift of City) and are currently mired in eight place behind such luminaries as Watford and Bournemouth.
Point being, in terms of results on the pitch, this isn’t the instant upgrade it once was. Granted, United has the wherewithal to buy their way into respectability but their title hopes for this season are dead and buried. What’s more, while playing for Mourinho might appeal to a young kid like Pellegrini, by his own admission a manager’s tenure should necessarily be restricted to three or four years, meaning Mourniho’s days in Manchester may be numbered.
So, unless Pellegrini has always harbored aspirations of playing in the Premiership, this switch may not be as cut and dry as it seems. It does, however, seem like a masterstroke by his agent. Now that United are interested in his client, and willing to double his wages and extend his contract, he has leverage to force Roma to do the same thing.
And if you’re Monchi, facing the prospect of losing yet another midfielder, you have no choice—you have to act. Two million a year through 2022 is a reasonable figure for a player like Pellegrini.
This should be a no-brainer, but the allure of the Premiership has a way of clouding one’s thinking. Stay tuned, this figures to be the story of the winter transfer window.