Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Roma’s first summer signing could be a player thet many of us are familiar with. The Italian sports daily is reporting that Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante could be on his way to the capital from northern Italy. Gazzetta is reporting that Monchi met with the player’s agent on Monday and that the deal would be for 25 million Euros plus another 5 in eventual bonuses.
The 23 year old midfielder is coming off a superb season where he was a key cog for the Bergameschi, as he helped them qualify for the Europa League for a second straight season. In the process he also received his first season squad callups to the Italian National Team.
Cristante, who came through the AC Milan system, has grown tremendously since his arrival to Bergamo last January on a loan deal from Benfica. He also has had loan stints at Palermo and Pescara, making his last few seaons before this one a bit nomadic. However, the young Italian seems to have found the right place to hone his skills after making his Milan debut at just 18 years old. For those who remember his time at Milan, Cristante probably feels more like he’s in his late 20’s with so many stops in between, but he’s just hitting his stride at 23.
Cristante had a superb season for Atalanta both in Serie A and the Europa League while playing both a traditional central midfield role, as well as, a more attacking one. He finished the season with 12 goals in all competitions in 46 matches (Serie A: 9 goals in 34 appearances and Europa League: 3 goals in 8 appearances). If Roma do make the move for Cristante he would give them a nice secondary goalscoring threat in the midfield ala Nainggolan last season. Cristante finished the season with an average player rating of 7.08 in all competitions, according to WhoScored?.
This signing seems like it would be a great fit for Roma if it happens. Cristante is a young, talented midfielder who has already proven that he can be successful in Serie A. His experience in the league should make his adjestment period much shorter than a player from abroad. An added bonus could be his European experiece, not only in the Europa League with Atalanta but also Champions League appearances with both Milan and Benfica.
In the short term, his versatility and combination of goalscoring, passing, and aerial talents should help improve Roma’s midfield immediately. Meanwhile in the long term, at just 23 he still has room to grow as a player which would see his potential resale value rise in a few seasons. To me this deal seems like a no brainer if Monchi is able to make it, potentially for 30 million or less.