When Roma qualified for the Europa Conference League late last summer, a completely new tournament with largely unfamiliar opponents, we scrambled to find any useful information on the club's three opponents: CSKA Sofia, FC Zorya, and Bodø/Glimt. Roma faced Sofia in last season's Europa League, and while they never met Zorya, Roma was familiar enough with Ukrainian opponents, so there was at least some passing familiarity with those two clubs. However, to no one's surprise, the tiny Norwegian club with two names caused us the most confusion, but with nine goals in his first 18 league matches, Erik Botheim was an easy selection for our Bodø/Glimt player to watch.
And since that mid-September write-up. Botheim has added four more goals (and one assist) to his league tally, pushing his total to 13 goals in 26 appearances, good enough to place him third in the Norwegian league scoring race. Any way you slice it, that's an impressive feat from a 21-year-old forward. However, even if you don't find yourself glued to the Eliteserien every weekend, Botheim still managed to leave an indelible impression on Roma fans after torching the Giallorossi to the tune of three goals and three assists in two group stage matches.
Thanks to those heroics, Botheim has caught the attention of both capital clubs:
Kilder til TV 2: Roma har tatt kontakt om Botheim etter Glimt-suksessen https://t.co/7HYLsPa3tn— TV 2 Sport (@tv2sport) November 7, 2021
According to Norwegian outlet TV 2 Sport, both Roma and Lazio are hot on Botheim's trail. The 21-year-old Oslo native, who has amassed 19 goals and nine assists in all competitions during his first full-time season as a pro, is becoming an increasingly hot property on the European transfer market. With a contract that expires in December 2022, time is running short for Bodø to cash out on his services, which could lead to a hefty bidding war on the winter transfer market this January.
Despite Transfermarkt valuing him at only €600,000, TV 2 Sport claim that Bodø hopes to land a “significant” sum for Botheim. The exact definition of a “significant” sum varies from club to club and league to league, but we can use Bodø’s most recent high-profile transfer as a frame of reference. In last summer's delayed transfer market, Bodø flipped Jens Petter Hauge to AC Milan for €4.8 million in early October 2020. A few weeks shy of his 21st birthday and fresh off a 14 goal and 10 assist campaign, Hauge was similar in age and playing style to Botheim, so we can feel safe in using that pricepoint as a guidepost.
All of this remains speculation—Roma did just invest over €60 million in forwards Tammy Abraham and Eldor Shomurodov after all—but, based on his domestic record and his sterling performances against Roma in the Conference League, catching this kid on the upswing could be five million well spent.