News has flooded in literally overnight about Roma’s goalkeeping line-up for next year, as Antonio Mirante is widely reported to be visiting Trigoria tomorrow and sign for Roma. Since last season, if not before that, Mirante has been touted - by media and CdT alike - as the reliable, low-key Italian backup keeper signing the club needed. As expected, it frees up Roma to make pay on Lukasz Skorupski who goes to Bologna in a cash-plus-player-exchange deal.
It’s unclear whether the deal is tied to Roma’s long-awaited decision to let young U-21 Azzurini defender Arturo Calabresi finally complete his move to Bologna, or whether that deal is completely separate. As it is, Calabresi could still be very handy if he proves himself in Serie A next year, so the reports of it being a loan deal seem wise (as wise as loan deals could possibly be).
Truthfully, the decision to let Skorupski go seems more like a matter of principle than money moves. Bologna are paying 5 million euros to Roma for the Pole’s services and handing over Mirante, and almost anyone who’s seen Skorupski play would say it is about time he was given a fresh break in Serie A at a club where he is trusted with the number 1 jersey.
Skorupski has been polite but direct about it: he called his 2017-18 season time well spent learning under Roma’s goalkeeping coach Marco Savorani, but he would not accept another season frozen out of first-team action. Which is fair enough. Frankly, I’d expect Skorupski to keep a clean sheet against Roma when the Giallorossi face Bologna next season. He’s already shut out Roma once while on loan at Empoli. If Alisson were to go, you’d have to believe Roma would have just looked in-house at promoting Skorupski. The guy is absolutely capable.
And really - with due respect to Mirante himself - that is biggest underlying subtext of this news: Roma have surely signalled their intent to keep Alisson for next season. Time will tell and I could always wind up with egg on my face for saying that, but letting go of Skorupski and Alisson in the same window would be pretty futile.
Real Madrid and the Spanish tabloids may have done they best copy-paste job of trying to tap up and destabilise Alisson’s situation - like they do every summer - but there hasn’t really been any credible source to suggest Alisson is headed out of Rome this summer. Of course, there’s still a World Cup and August mega-bids to change that.
In the meantime, Antonio Mirante is a man bringing 373 Serie A games’ worth of experience into Roma’s goal. At 34 years old, it seems he’s ready to take one last signing-on fee to round out the twilight chapter of his career. There may not be a scarf pic in the car ride down from Bologna, but Mirante was always one of those names who’d make you wonder if Roma were about to make a “super keeper” out of an Italian name on any given weekend.
As an ex-Juventus graduate, he also brings a +1 into Roma’s home-grown column for the 2018-19 season.