While I can’t imagine the madness of all five major European leagues closing their transfer windows on the same day, I suppose for the sake of headlines we can be thankful that each league has their own self-imposed shopping deadline. England and Italy closed up shop earlier this month, but we’re in the 11th hour (as it were) for the folks in France and Spain, who have less than a week left to round out their squads for the 2018-2019 season.
Yesterday we discussed the possibility of Kevin Strootman reuniting with Rudi Garcia at Marseilles, a possibility that makes sense in several ways but remains very much a fantasy; Strootman’s life is very much rooted in Rome.
We cannot say the same for one of his younger teammates, Luca Pellegrini. While he is an actual Roma, his path to playing time is a bit more muddied than Strootman’s. Last week against Torino, Pellegrini was left to watch in the stands, having been left off the squad list due to a muscular injury sustained during the club’s oh so important US tour.
And according to Il Tempo, Pellegrini may have to adapt to watching Roma from afar. While they didn’t name any specific clubs, the paper reports that a trio of Spanish clubs are keen on taking Pellegrini on loan, to the point that Monchi is already meeting with Pellegrini’s super agent Mino Raiola.
While it makes perfect sense to find a place where Pellegrini can play first team football week in week out, the reasoning provided in the RomaNews link is a bit spurious. Claiming Pellegrini is the 5th choice fullback is a bit misleading; Pellegrini is very much a left back, and as such is only competing with Davide Santon for minutes behind Aleksandar Kolarov. With three competitions running simultaneously, and with Kolarov aging and Santon being, well, Santon, there may be 1,500 to 2,000 minutes available for Pellegrini this season.
Much as he did last summer, Luca Pellegrini has shown glimpses of his enormous potential, and unlike last summer, no calamity has slowed him down. Kolarov remains a fine player, but is coming off a season in which, World Cup included, he played over 4,200 minutes; he was option A through Z for Eusebio Di Francesco last season; there was no second option.
Roma has done quite well in the aging fullback department over the years, wringing every ounce of production from the aging legs of players like John Arne Riise, Maicon and Kolarov. However, as astounding as he was last season, Kolarov will be 33-years-old this fall, and if recent history is any example, we cannot count on a repeat of that performance.
There is a role, and a sizeable one at that, for Luca Pellegrini with Roma this season. Sure, getting 3,000 minutes or so of his own in La Liga would be a boon for his development, but something tells me if this kid goes out on loan we’ll never really see him in a Roma shirt.
Monchi stacked this team two-deep at every position for a reason, meaning there is ample depth to find Pellegrini meaningful, consistent minutes while resting Kolarov in the process. So let’s hope this is one instance in which Roma can resist loaning out one of their kids.