We here at CdT do a lot of things well (I like to think) but one area in which we exceed is confronting unpopular stories head on. Whether it was dealing with the Francesco Totti-Luciano Spalletti rift during Tott’s final season or actually making a case for Juan Iturbe to become a fullback, we try not to shy away from controversial topics. And sure, you can rightly accuse us (or at least me) of being too reactionary at times, but as I’ve mentioned it is, to an extent, part and parcel of the pace of our coverage, and indeed the sport as a whole—that’s not to make an excuse, just sometimes I get swept up in the madness.
However, when it comes to Alisson’s future with Roma I have decided definitively to bury my head in the sand. I just can’t stand the thought of the Brazilian Don Draper keeping and sweeping his way to the top with someone else. I can’t and I won’t. Alisson is arguably the best young player Roma has had since Daniele De Rossi was nipping at Totti’s heels 15 years ago—he is, even with only one season under his belt, a game changer and a franchise alterer.
To his credit, Alisson hasn’t deflected any of the sudden transfer attention, saying simply that, whatever path he chooses, it’ll be the right one for him and for Roma. There’s certainly room for ambiguity in that statement, but by and large, Alisson seems content with Roma, going so far as to urge the club to hang onto Radja Nainggolan, so he certainly seems invested in the club’s future.
Still, Alisson could potentially fetch nine figures on the transfer market, a neighborhood not many clubs get to visit, let alone do business in, so his sale could set Roma up quite well for the next 24 to 36 months. Selling Alisson would be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s one with a clear rationale—assets like that don’t come along everyday, so it behooves you to at least explore your options.
Reason and rationality aside, you just can’t sell this kid, right? Alisson, when speaking about Nainggolan, could have been referring to himself. If Roma really are a club with grand ambitions, you can’t just cast off players of that caliber like so much jetsam.
But...but...if Roma do have to, or choose to, sell Alisson they could do a lot worse for a replacement than Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois. Not only is his name fun to say with an exaggerated French accent, but he’s a damn fine keeper, one of the world’s best on most days. He’s also growing increasingly agitated with his current employer, and with his deal set to expire next season, Roma (or whomever) could get him for a song, reportedly as low as €35 million.
With Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and potentially Roma (and even Manchester United) all entering a game of musical keeper chairs, the fates of Alisson, Courtois, Keylor Navas, Jan Oblak and possibly even David De Gea are all intertwined, wherein it’s possible four out of these five names could end up replacing each other—it’s a transfer maze that almost makes LeBron James’ summer decision seem like child’s play.
However, if Roma are compelled to sell Alisson for some €80 to €100 million, then exploiting Courtois’ tenuous relationship with Chelsea is perhaps Monchi’s best viable option.
Besides, if June has shown us anything so far, it’s this: Monchi is on fire.