With Justin Kluivert, Cengiz Ünder, Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy in tow, not to mention Gregoire Defrel and Patrick Schick capable of playing out wide, it doesn’t seem like Roma needs more wingers, but if you read the papers, it seems as though the bulk of Roma’s Alisson windfall will address that position. We can read into that a couple ways: the innocent track is simply that EDF wants to stock as many people at that position as possible due to its importance in his tactics, or the more sinister route; one of those dudes is getting sold.
Yesterday we talked about Suso, Chiesa and Malcolm (more on him to come), but today it seems we can add two new names to the list, Lyon’s Memphis Depay and PSG’s Julian Draxler; two shiny names that Roma has been intermittently connected to in the past but always seemed a tad bit too expensive.
However, Romanews reports that Roma are, at the very least, exploring these pair of 24-year-old wingers, both of whom would cost less on the front end than Chiesa, who seems to be floating around the €60 to €70 million mark.
Depay, you may recall, made a rather well publicized move to Manchester United in 2015 only to play approximately 2,000 minutes across a seasonish at the Theatre of Dreams. When United decided to cut ties with Depay, Roma were one of the many clubs interested, but Lyon beat everyone to the punch, laying out €16 million during the January 2017 transfer window. Depay has come to life since moving to Ligue 1, turning in a remarkable 2017-2018 campaign, one in which he registered 22 goals and 16 assists in all competitions. Depay is a bit like Hakim Ziyech in that he’s less a winger and more of an amorphous blog of an attacker, capable of playing virtually anywhere. Transfermarkt currently values him at €45 million, which seems to be the going rate for these types of players.
Draxler, meanwhile, has had a somewhat similar career trajectory to Depay, although Draxler’s has been more of a slow and steady burn, lacking the combustible, breakout season that Depay just registered. Like Depay, Draxler made the jump to a mega club in his early twenties, but has seen an incremental increase in his role, as his appearances and total minutes increased over the past year. Unlike Depay, Draxler has remained with his mega club rather than seeking safe harbor elsewhere.
Romanews doesn’t really source these rumors, but they’re both cut from the same cloth: two players entering their prime who find themselves in less than ideal circumstances. For Depay, United just wasn’t the right move at that time, but he’s proved that he’s too good for Ligue 1, so Roma and Serie A might be his sweet spot. Draxler, meanwhile, is the classic B+ player at the A+ club; he’ll have a role for sure, but at this point, if he was going to be a superstar, he’d have gained more traction, so a move to Roma could afford him the opportunity to make a brighter name for himself.
Each player, as we mentioned, is 24-years-old and each will cost somewhere in the €35 to €45 million range, and they each have the same blend of Ziyech-like skills. So whether it’s Draxler, Depay, Ziyech, Chiesa, Malcolm or Suso, the aim is clear: EDF wants a versatile, attacking winger capable of playing centrally when needed.
And now that Roma are flush with cash, for once it seems like they may have the pick of the litter.