With Serie A on holiday break and the January transfer window opening in mere days, the maelstrom of rumors linking players to Roma is getting stronger by the hour. In the last few days, new names have emerged to fill José Mourinho’s two biggest needs: a defensive midfielder and a second right back.
If negotiations to bring Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Nigel to the Italian capital are indeed as advanced as they seem, then the right-back piece of the roster puzzle could be in place soon. And while a right back to spell Rick Karsdorp is indeed imperative, we all know how badly Mourinho would love a true defensive midfielder. From Granit Xhaka to Andre-Frank Anguissa to Denis Zakaria to Florian Grillitsch, the Giallorossi have been incessantly linked with players to fill that role, even when the market was closed
And today, another big name emerged in the endless flow of defensive midfield rumors: Boubacar Kamara of Olympique de Marseille—and he's certainly a head-turner.
Just read this excerpt from a June 2021 scouting report by Scouted Football and tell me this isn’t the player that Mourinho’s dreams are made of.
His statistical profile shows what Kamara is all about; a ball-winner in multiple forms – a presser, dueller and interceptor – but also as comfortable against the press as he is when pressing himself. The 21-year-old is typically Marseille’s deepest midfielder in-possession, comfortable in drawing opponents in through ball retention, then bypassing them through silky footwork or combinations with teammates. A trademark of his are diagonal balls from the left side of the pitch to the right flank.
Kamara, now 22-years-old, seems tailor-made for what Roma currently lacks in its midfield:a true defensive midfielder that can not only win balls but control possession and orchestrate from deep positions.
If the age scares you, it shouldn’t. Despite turning 22 just last month, the Marseilles-born Kamara made his OM debut at 17 years of age and has been a regular since he was 18. He’s already amassed over 9,000 senior side league minutes and just last season played almost 2,900 Ligue 1 minutes. And better yet for Roma, he’s on an expiring contract.
Sound too good to be true? It could be, considering that Roma is thought to be going against the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle United, and AC Milan for his signature, so Tiago Pinto will likely face an uphill battle in his pursuit of Kamara.
According to Alessandro Austini of Il Tempo, Roma will try and gain the upper hand by being the first club to make an aggressive pursuit and use the friendly relations between the sides to aid in negotiations. The clubs have done business for Cengiz Under and Pau Lopez of late, so the groundwork could be there.
No price tag has been given, but even with the expiring contract, this may not be a cheap affair given Kamara’s profile and the competition for his signature. If Roma can make the money work then Pinto and Mourinho will likely have to sell Roma hard to the youngster.
Only time will tell if that’ll happen, but if Roma can pull this move off, it could be a game-changer.
What are your thoughts on Kamara? Where would you rate him amongst the names linked to Roma’s defensive midfield options?