Nobody’s ever said that Rome is an easy city to play in. Many managers and players have said that the pressure of plying your wares at the Olimpico is comparable only to the hullaballoo that surrounds the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid. They all add that the pressure is worth it for the adulation you can receive, of course, but it doesn’t take that much time following Roma to see how the city can chew up players that would succeed nearly anywhere else.
It looks like two of the players that have been chewed up by the Roma Machine might be heading out sooner rather than later, although their time on Roma’s books varied slightly. Gregoire Defrel, who moved to Roma in tandem with Eusebio Di Francesco, looks set to move to Cagliari for a cool €15 million. Meanwhile, Robin Olsen’s time at the Olimpico seems to be coming to a close with the signing of Pau Lopez, rumors of a Benfica swoop, and Paulo Fonseca’s decision to remove him from the squad for friendlies.
Both players came into Rome with reasonably high expectations. Olsen was expected to fill the hole left by Alisson Becker’s transfer to Liverpool, while many hoped that Defrel could replicate his Sassuolo form and spell Edin Dzeko when necessary. Neither of these hopes came to fruition for long, and although Defrel technically lasted longer on Roma’s payroll through separate loans, both Olsen and Defrel leave Roma with about one season’s play under the belts. Not great for players that cost Roma €20 million in transfer fees.
On the bright side of even more players moving through Rome without making much of an impact, it’s encouraging that Gianluca Petrachi seems to be hunting for strong personalities combined with talent in his summer mercato purchases. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to last at the Stadio Olimpico; just ask one Juan Iturbe. Although we’ll never know if the likes of Amadou Diawara or Gianluca Mancini will succeed in Rome until they actually start playing there, actively looking for players who have the toughness to succeed in Rome is necessary if Roma ever wishes for the club’s results to match the insane atmosphere that surrounds the Giallorossi.