Porto’s out-of-contract Spanish defender Ivan Marcano is widely reported to have accepted Monchi’s proposal and come play football in the Italian capital. The Spanish veteran defender is expected to fly into Fiumicino airport tomorrow afternoon (will there be a scarf thrown his way for the cameras? Will there be cameras? Do we not do those for free transfers?) but it’s unclear whether he will take his medical and officially sign all on the same day.
Marcano reportedly turned down an offer from Valencia as well as Porto’s offer to renew before making his choice.
We’ve covered how Marcano slotting into Roma’s defence ticks all the boxes of what EDF wants from his backline already here. Some reporters are already calling Ivan Marcano the vice-Fazio, though Fazio will be one of only four Roma squad members not present at pre-season training in Pinzolo due to prior World Cup commiments - giving Marcano a chance to get in with the team chemistry while the big Argentine is away.
And that brings us onto the other big advantage of this signing: the timing and getting it done early. Some may say “this is just another Hector Moreno isn’t it?” which is valid. Moreno turned out not to be a game-changer in the limited opportunity thrown his way but he wasn’t helped by needing as long as September to start kicking a training-ground ball for the club. Marcano has no international football commitments, no belated recovery from summer tournaments, and should slot right into training at Trigoria and Pinzolo when everyone is back from holiday.
I can’t remember watching Marcano when he played us right out of the Champions League qualifiers in 2016 with Porto (he played both legs) but one person who should remember him is Kostas Manolas. The Spaniard was re-called for a second spell at Olympiakos in Manolas’ final season at the club, before both went their separate ways in the summer of 2014. Manolas has since spent four years at Roma, while Marcano put an end to his ‘journeyman’ reputation over those same four years spent leading Porto’s backline.
From mid-2016 onwards, Marcano began to start games as captain of his side which bodes well for Roma signing up some more of that determination and ‘winning mentality’ we speak of so often. Seeking a new challenge and bringing all the height advantage of a 6 foot 2 athlete with him - plus the lack of acceleration (but decent overall pace) thrown in - Ivan Marcano will probably have to live with the label of ‘a left-footed Fazio’ for now.
The only question: Is this now Roma’s defensive line sorted for next season?
Some will say Juan Jesus’ 2.2 million euro a year salary is too high for a rotation defender but Marcano’s 3-year 2 million euro-a-season contract is virtually the exact same deal. Some will just outright say Juan Jesus’ performances haven’t been good enough. And what of Elio Capradossi?
Whatever the case, every other move Roma can make on the transfer market from here on in (unless they plan on signing more free agents) looks like it’ll be a ‘sell-first-to-buy’ affair with Roma players having to leave either on part-exchange or outright, first and foremost. It may be well into June or even July before we see another new face walking through Fiumicino arrivals.