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Alisson Really Wants Real

That sounds you hear? That’s Roma’s leverage exploding.

Serbia v Brazil: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

While we’re still dancing around Hakim Ziyech, Domenico Berardi and Hector Herrera rumors, with nine signings in tow before the end of June, Roma’s transfer work is ostensibly over. Combine those new signings with some names returning from injury and it seems like Roma’s roster is done and dusted ahead of the 2018-2019 campaign. But, this is still Roma we’re talking about here, so you know some sales might be brewing.

The biggest and potentially most lucrative name on the trading block is, naturally, Alisson Becker, Roma’s 25-year-old sweeper keeper extraordinaire. By now you know the story: Roma don’t really want to sell him, and quite frankly don’t need to in the strictest terms, but they seem willing to acquiesce to his desire to move to a mega club. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the world we live in—giving up and letting Alisson fulfill his dream is a bit easier to swallow then selling a vital player to a direct rival, so that might explain the comparative lack of vitriol pointed towards this move.

Given the increasing stratification of the footballing world, there are only a handful of teams that can be considered mega clubs—Barcelona, Manchester City, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid. These are the clubs to whom the ordinary rules of economics don’t apply; they can pretty much buy and sell as they please and never miss a beat.

Unfortunately for Roma, Alisson has his eyes firmly and solely set on Real Madrid. So even though Chelsea are reportedly willing to offer €70 million for him, Roma remain handcuffed by Alisson’s desire to move to Madrid, who are ironically probably the club that could meet Roma’s €75 to €80 million demand without batting an eye.

Alisson’s preference for Madrid puts Roma in a bit of a bind. They know full well that Alisson wants to leave and will leave at some point, yet they’re effectively powerless to play those mega clubs off one another. With Chelsea desperate to move on from Thibaut Courtois, and the always confusing future of David De Gea and Manchester United, Roma could easily tease two to three clubs on Alisson, pushing the price point higher and higher.

There is, of course, the Mateo Kovacic option we discussed last week, wherein Roma takes a little bit less in cash value for Alisson in exchange for Madrid’s want away midfielder, but that might remain a pipe dream.

We are now two weeks past the start of the World Cup, the point by which Alisson wanted his future settled, so there is really no telling what may happen next. Are Roma and Real back channeling a deal as we speak? Would Alisson be happy to stay with Roma and test the market next summer? Could Chelsea convince him to move to London?

Time will tell of course, but this is all adding up to a tense couple of weeks between the end of the World Cup and the start of the Serie A season.