Calciomercato.it reports that Gianluca Petrachi has reached an agreement to bring in Fernando Llorente on a free transfer this August. The Spanish striker will reportedly take a second crack at playing in Serie A—after a couple of Scudetto-laden years with Juventus—once Roma have sold either Edin Dzeko or Patrik Schick to make room in the squad for Llorente.
That being said, SportMediaset report that Dzeko has lost patience with Inter Milan and will consider renewing his contract with Roma unless the Milan club make a real move on securing him within the next week. Having seen Inter make 60 million euro bids for Romelu Lukaku, the Bosnian is wondering why they can’t just cough up a third of that money to sign Dzeko up if they really want him.
As for Llorente, that’ll be as close to a like-for-like replacement as Roma can afford for Dzeko (Llorente’s 1-goal-per-171 minutes last season was technically more prolific than Dzeko’s 1-goal-per-209-minutes—though that’s almost entirely based on Llorente hitting a cup hat-trick against Rochdale) while clearing Dzeko’s annual 12.6 million euro cost off the Roma annual expense budget in the process; and that’s before you take into account the plusvalenza Roma would be earning off Dzeko’s reported 20 million euro transfer fee.
Does that spare Patrik Schick for another year in Rome? Not necessarily.
Schick is the only player on Roma’s yearly bill that costs even more than Dzeko, and the Czech’s goal-return has been scant reward given the club’s investment in him. Il Messagero (by way of StadioSport.it) are already reporting that Llorente is an intended replacement for Schick and that Dzeko could stay. It’d be weird to have two strikers pushing their mid-thirties in the squad.
Regardless of whether this is a move to pave the way for a Dzeko or Schick exit (or both), it’s one that’ll free up anywhere between 20-30 million euros on Roma’s budget at the least. And that’s got to be enough of a green light to sign a certain top-class defender from London in the process, right? Right?
In the meantime, it’s time to brush up on what Fernando Llorente’s been up to in his thirties, below: