Is it just me, or has the post-World Cup period been an absolute blur? The moments since France lifted the Jules Rimet trophy have gone by seemingly in an instant, and now that clubs are wrapping up their summer tours and all those World Cup participants have been rejoined their respective club teams, the waning days of the summer figure to be frenetic as teams far and wide try to plug those final holes, or if you’re Barcelona, snatching other teams targets like a dog after table scraps.
As far as Roma is concerned, the remaining market ambitions have crystalized: Monchi is going hard for EDFs coveted inverted right winger, as well as a defensive midfielder to sit behind and eventually assume Daniele De Rossi’s role with the club. While all the usual names have popped up (your Ziyechs, Susos, Berardis and Nzonzis), there have been a few new additions to Roma’s wish list.
Out wide Roma’s pie in the sky option seems to be Leverkusen’s 20-year-old winger Leon Bailey. With Malcom off the market and Fiorentina seemingly content to hang onto Federico Chiesa, the young Jamaican has become the hottest winger on the market. These rumors have become so transparent that Bailey himself is even in on the action know, rattling off the list of teams interested in his signature—Liverpool, Chelsea and Roma.
With an estimated transfer value of €45 million, and with those well-moneyed clubs interested in him, we can safely assume Leverkusen won’t let him leave for less than €60 million. Bailey is incredibly young, but he’s a sensational talent, so maybe Liverpool will let Roma have him for a year or so before Monchi acquiesces.
Meanwhile, Roma’s midfield options haven’t coalesced to the same extent as their wing preferences, as we’ve been privy to several new rumors over the past 48 hours or so. For much of the past week Roma appeared to be making inroads towards Salzburg’s Diadie Samassekou, a 22-year-old defensive midfielder whose market value has practically tripled over the past 18 months thanks to some stellar play in the Austrian Bundesliga. With Liverpool, Bayern Munich and AC Milan after him, Samassekou’s days as an under the radar prospect are effectively dead and gone.
In the event Roma can’t fend off Liverpool for Samassekou, Real Madrid’s want away star in the making, Mateo Kovacic, could be the coup of the summer. Kovacic, long buried on Madrid’s bench and sensing his career slipping away, has been keen on leaving the reigning Champions League since the close of the season.
With his name and reputation, Kovacic’s options are seemingly limitless, but for the past week or so he’s been connected with a move to Manchester United. While teaming up with Paul Pogba would be a delight for objective observers, Kovacic reportedly has reservations about Jose Mourinho, but then again don’t we all?
However, Real’s loss could be Roma’s gain. Multiple sources indicate that not only are Roma interested in Kovacic, but Madrid has flatout offered him to the Giallorossi. And while he’s not a defensive midfielder in the strictest sense, he has taken on that role intermittently over the past few seasons. I find it hard to hide my bias here, but positional debates aside, Kovacic is just so talented and so versatile he’d make any club instantly better.
Roma wraps up their ICC adventure tomorrow (ironically against Madrid), following which the real work begins: Eusebio Di Francesco has to get his 11 new signings fully on board before a tough opener against Torino, while Monchi has to work the phones around the clock to find those last two missing pieces.
Never a dull moment.