They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and never was there a stronger testament to that proverb than our front page, which is currently littered with pictures of Bryan Cristante and Justin Kluivert, with a smattering of Ante Coric and Ivan Marcano thrown in for good measure. In short, Monchi has been busy this month, putting Roma’s debit card to good use, and if it’s anything like mine, his wallet is probably cracking it right along the magnetic strip.
All told, Monchi has secured three new signings in the two plus weeks since the season ended—Coric, Marcano and Cristante—and appears to have the inside track on a fourth (Kluivert) and possibly even a fifth (Hakim Ziyech). While that’s all well and good, as Roma fans we’ve been conditioned to expect the worst in these situations—smart, shrewd signings countered by crushing sales.
And while these corresponding moves don’t always occur in tandem, or indeed even in the same transfer window, Roma almost always has to pay the piper before all is said and done. Last summer it was Mohamed Salah, Leandro Paredes and Antonio Rüdiger making way for FFP, and with Monchi being so busy so early in the season, we can’t help but wonder who’s next.
While Alisson has long been presumed to be the club’s ultimate make weight, with his rumored price approaching €100 million, even the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid might balk at that lofty price tag, and that’s before we even mention James Pallotta’s winter edict that Roma would not sell the Brazilian.
Still, someone has to go right? With new Radja Nainggolan-is-leaving stories popping up every day, the general consensus seems to be that Roma will have to offset these purchases somehow, beit through Alisson, Nainggolan or even Kevin Strootman—someone’s gots to go.
But do they really? Thanks to the structures of the deals, thus far Monchi has actually only spent €11 million—six on Coric and five on Cristante, while Marcano signed on as a free agent. Throw in the impending sale of Bruno Peres (€1 million up front, €7 million more down the pike) and Monchi has only spent €10 million to improve EDF’s squad ahead of next season.
Now, that balance sheet will change if and when Kluivert and/or Ziyech hold up their Roma scarves, but in the here and now, Monchi’s shrewd dealings (not to mention Roma’s Champions League windfall) haven’t really forced their hand.
So now all we can do is wait with baited breath for their next moves. Roma are still very much in a transitional phase, one in which Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi will continue to mold the team in their image, so we can’t simply assume they have the same emotional attachment to Roma’s old guard as we do—tough decisions will have to be made—but unlike in years past, finances may not be the prime motivation.