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Reports: Roma Sign Lens Defender William Bianda

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Roma have reportedly snapped up the 18-year-old French defender.

AS Roma v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Shh, don’t tell them there are no pictures of Bianda in a Getty database.
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Outside of the early capture of Ivan Marcano, much of Roma’s transfer market, and indeed even the rumor mill, has focused on the midfield and attack. Between Bryan Cristante, Ante Coric, Justin Kluivert and the dozen or so wingers/midfielders to whom the club has been connected, Roma’s backline has been virtually ignored, both in fact and fiction.

Making matters worse, the only bit of news we have received isn’t, uh, what we’d call good. With rumors trickling out that Chelsea are prepared to meet Kostas Manolas’ absurdly low release clause (if they haven’t met it already), all we can do is hope and pray that Manolas is satisfied with life in the Eternal City, otherwise another pillar bites the dust.

In the face of that speculation, it would make sense to see Roma connected to more and more defenders, but to date those rumors have been somewhat sparse. Enter William Bianda, RC Lens’ 18-year-old defender. According to Sky Italia, Roma has agreed to a €5 million deal for the teenage centerback, and will sign the kid to a five year deal worth a reported €1 million per season—not a trifling amount for a player so young.

A quick Google search of Bianda reveals...well, not much. Bianda only made five appearances for Lens in Ligue 2 last season, though he does have a handful of appearances for the French U-18s.

Take what you will from this video, but Bianda, despite having a somewhat awkward/gangly gait, has decent closing speed and already seems to know how to use his long limbs to his advantage; his anticipation and reading of angles seem pretty keen based on these clips, too. You’ll also notice some pretty decent long balls and switches of play with his left foot, so he might be the holy grail of EDF’s football—a defender who can distribute from the back.

Despite those highlights, this is a teenager with absolutely no top-flight experience we’re talking about here, so Bianda is very much a long term, speculative play. An intriguing one, sure, but he will likely be immediately loaned out upon signing with Roma.

Nevertheless, he could be Monchi’s next great find, we’ll just have to wait patiently.