The winter mercato is always an odd one. By this time in the season, every club has a decent handle on how their summer signings fit into their squads, and the gaps in a team’s ability or depth have become evident. For Roma, the most obvious area where improvement is necessary is in defense. The fourth-best offense in Serie A isn’t winning as many matches as it could because of the eleventh-best defense. There are a couple reasons behind Roma’s defensive woes; Federico Fazio is stuck in a post-World Cup stupor, the sirens of England are calling out to Kostas Manolas, and Roma’s two centerback signings from the summer, Ivan Marcano and William Bianda, are effectively dead on arrival or stuck in the Primavera.
Given that, it makes quite a lot of sense that the rumor mill has been churning out centerback rumor after centerback rumor. I’ve already touched on a couple of these in a previous article, but as January has worn on it’s become clear who Monchi’s main target is as a long-term defensive addition: Gianluca Mancini. The Italian centerback, currently of Atalanta, is linked to almost every club in Europe, but Pagine Romaniste is now reporting that Monchi has submitted an official offer for Mancini.
For those of you who don’t read Italian, here’s the gist: Mancini would be loaned to Roma for 18 months, with Roma carrying an obligation to purchase him at the end of the 2019-2020 season for €25 million. For a promising young centerback that’s actually not too much of a fee, and pushing off the payment until 2020 is a good short-term financial decision. However, adding that to the current loan-to-buy deals Roma has in place would mean that Roma would be shelling out out €40 million in 2020, without buying any new players. Not exactly the best situation for a club that often has to sell to buy.
Mancini would be an important addition to the squad, a signing that would show Monchi and Jim Pallotta really mean business, both in terms of reinforcing a quality side and in making it more Italian. He’s the type of player who could last a very long time at the heart of Roma’s defense. If this deal goes through, however, Roma better keep on getting into the Champions League. If the Giallorossi don’t, even for one season, this kind of deal will only make the inevitable fire sale turn into a forest fire.
Loan-to-buy Gianluca Mancini for €25 million: Yea or Nay?
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