Reports out of both Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport today report that Roma are in the hunt for goals this summer. The main reason being the big drop off in goal production from the 2016-17 season under Spalletti. This season Roma had to rely on their record breaking defense away from the Olimpico in Serie A to grind out results, as their goal scoring shrank by 1⁄3 from 90 goals under Spalletti to 61 under EdF. The focus in the search for goals will be on the wings, according to both major Italian sports dailies.
One name which was understandably hotly linked with Roma last summer has resurfaced; 23 year old Sassuolo winger Domenico Berardi. Berardi is a pupil of EdF’s days at Sassuolo where he enjoyed plenty of success under the now Roma boss. However, this season was a struggle (4 goals, 2 assists in 29 apps) for the ultra talented winger who originally came through the Juve youth ranks. Last summer Berardi’s price tag was inflated to around 40 million Euro, a price Roma were unwilling to pony up despite reports that both coach and player wanted the move to happen.
However, this season the price tag has come down substantially thanks to Berardi’s tough season. Gazzetta are now reporting that Sassuolo would be happy to accept an offer somewhere closer to the 25 million Euro range. Because of this Roma and Sassuolo are said to have a meeting scheduled this weekend or early next week to discuss the player.
Corriere is reporting that EdF would love to have the opportunity to relaunch Berardi’s career in the capital and that when the coach was leaving the Mapei last season Berardi told him, “Mister, bring me with you.” This could be more likely this summer with the player’s price tag coming down considerably. If EdF were able to bring the best out of Berardi in the capital this could be a steal of a move if it happens for under 25 million. This seems to be a situation worth monitoring, especially if Berardi continues to express his desire to rejoin EdF.
The other winger’s name that keeps popping up is 19 year old Justin Kluivert of Dutch side Ajax. Kluivert has been repeatedly linked to Roma despite having interest from many sides with more name appeal than the Giallorossi, including Man United and Barca. However, Gazzetta are reporting that the player and his agent (cue the Star Wars Imperial March) Mino Raiola believe that Roma would be a better next step for the youngster before an eventual move to a larger club. It’s believed that with only a year left on his contract and with the player expressing a desire to move on that 15-20 million Euros would be enough to get Ajax to sell Kluivert.
Despite turning 19 on May 5th, Kluivert was able to accumulate 10 goals and 5 assists in 27 appearances in the Dutch league this season. He also earned an average player rating of 7.51, according to WhoScored. With the rates we see flying around the mercato for young talent like Kluivert, at the price being floated, this could be a steal move for Roma. Granted there would be a transition period for such a young player as he moves to a bigger club and tougher league (ala Under), but in the long term this could be a coup for Roma.
Kulivert has the talent to make Roma very dangerous once he finds his feet in Serie A. In addition, his resale value should skyrocket if he pans out and eventually looks to move to a bigger club. Let’s hope Raiola isn’t just using Roma as a leveraging chip to get Kluivert (and himself) more money from a larger club because if he finds his way to the capital with Berardi Roma’s attack could be scary good.