I’m always skeptical of transfer rumors that claim a deal has been made several months prior to the transfer window opening. Transfer rumors are an exercise in futility to begin with, but when the rumor traders speak with such certainty three, four, five and even six months in advance, my confidence tends to move in the inverse. However, when it comes to Roma’s pursuit of Ante Coric, today's “news” that Roma and Dinamo Zagreb have agreed to a €12 million deal for the 20-year-old midfielder is the second such proclamation, following some rumblings in January that Monchi had sealed the deal for the young playmaker.
According to these rumors, Roma actually had a deal in place for Coric during the January transfer window and would have landed the Croatian were it not for, surprise, surprise, budgetary concerns. Not one to be so easily deterred, Monchi has stuck on Coric like stink on a monkey, reportedly “agreeing” to that same deal with Zagreb, one that would see the kid dubbed as the next Luka Modric move to the Stadio Olimpico this summer.
Hmm, maybe, but we’ll believe it when we see it. In the meantime, who is this kid? What can he do?
Despite the Modric analogy, Coric is very much an advanced, attacking midfielder, one who makes his mark on the ball, using his bevy of feints to blow past opponents. Coric is so skilled, so sly, so sneaky and so strong on the ball that Douglas Costa once slapped him in the face because Coric was toying with him so extensively during a friendly. In sum, Coric is increasingly an anachronism; a classic number ten set adrift amidst a sea of locked and loaded wingers.
Coric’s reputation, of course, is well known across the continent with everyone from Bayern Munich to Liverpool to Chelsea to Barcelona checking in on him. So if Monchi truly did land this kid for only €12 million, we could very well consider this a coup, especially if he is as magnetic and sublime on the ball as they say.
Roma needs affordable, top class talent, and Roma needs an attacking midfielder. This could be an ideal marriage. You know, if it’s true.