By now it is official everywhere. As reported earlier in the week on CdT and now confirmed: Maxime Gonalons has completed his medical and moves to Sevilla on a one-year dry loan only.
“Gonalons leave Roma for one season,” clarified Caparros at Gonalons’ Sevilla presentation. “He’s the kind of player we were missing.”
The straight dry loan suggests Roma is covering all bases with a view to Daniele De Rossi’s potential retirement next summer and hasn’t lost all faith in the Maxime Gonalons project. Gonalons himself clarified that he’s keeping an open line with Monchi even today.
“I’m ready to play and get results for Sevilla,” Gonalons said for his own part. “I played a good pre-season with Roma, I played a few friendles and if the coach wants me to play then I’m ready. It was a difficult season in Serie A but the end of the season was very positive for me and now I’m ready to get back to doing big things here.
Monchi and I know each other well, we all know how important he is in Sevilla. Being able to compare notes on football with him and having the chance to play here is a big opportunity for me.
I have a similar playing style to Nzonzi and we play in the same position, even if we do it in slightly different ways. Nzonzi did a great job at Sevilla and I want to show I can a great job, myself.”
So it looks very much like Monchi has moved his chess pieces between two clubs for a season. The unavoidable elephant in the room is Gonalons’ assessment of himself as a ‘diesel engine’ - a player who needs a consistent run of games to find form - when he spoke earlier this summer to Roma TV.
That forces both Sevilla and Rome to see Gonalons as a guaranteed starter - a status he used to enjoy at Lyon until his final season in Ligue 1 - and not just a rotation piece. It is doubtful Gonalons will ever enjoy that kind of status at a club like Roma. Unless EDF plans on playing two deep midfielders from next season onwards, it could be that Gonalons future still lies elsewhere in the fast moving world of football.
Maybe Sevilla doesn’t play him at all (the worst case scenario) or maybe Gonalons goes on to mastermind a La Liga title from the Sevilla midfield, while Europe’s biggest clubs all fall over themselves to take the Frenchman off Roma’s hands in a mega-deal next summer. Either way, Gonalons has shown the kind of class on the ball in Serie A that doesn’t just disappear overnight, even if he may not have come with the pricetag and performance levels of Nzonzi in La Liga.
Monchi will have some thinking to do next summer and it’s Gonalons’ job to perform this year to force every club to think harder some more - including Roma, who will need to contemplate spending yet more big money at defensive midfield before long, if Gonalons cannot find top form and continuity and DDR’s career turns a fateful chapter.