It's not every day that Associazione Sportiva Roma and the Norwich City Football Club are mentioned in the same breath, but according to multiple sources in Europe, the wolves and the canaries may soon come together on a tidy €20 million-plus transfer for young right-back Max Aarons. With Roma searching far and wide for a suitable backup for Rick Karsdorp, it was only a matter of time before the rumor mill started to widen its scope, but looking for help at the bottom of the Premiership table still feels a bit out of left field, but here we are.
According to multiple sources across Europe, including a report from today's edition of the Corriere dello Sport, Roma are one of many teams interested in Aarons, a 21-year-old right-back. Aarons, who will turn 22 shortly after New Year's Day, has spent his entire professional career with Norwich, making 145 appearances in all competitions across multiple levels of the English football pyramid since 2017.
Known for his passing and dribbling, Aarons boasts a €22 million Transfermarkt valuation and while his contract doesn't expire until 2024, given Norwich's place on the Premiership table and Aaron's professional aspirations, the Norfolk-based club may be compelled to cash in this winter. And with Roma joining the likes of Spurs, Everton, and Borussia Dortmund among Aarons’ admirers, Norwich should have no problem finding a taker for Aarons.
According to the Corriere dello Sport, Roma are interested in acquiring Aarons on loan with an option to buy, though his €4 million net salary could be an issue, particularly if the Growth Decree—the law that provides clubs financial incentives to sign players from abroad—is rescinded. Despite that possibility, the CdS claims Roma's interest is “concrete” particularly since their previous top target, Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, seems to have found a home under new United manager Ralf Rangnick.
A few weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, Aarons isn't a finished product, but he's been among England's most aggressive and efficient dribblers; traits that pair well with his overall progressive approach. Defensively speaking, Aarons has tackled nearly 54% of dribblers he's faced over the past year, which ranks in the 78th percentile among all full-backs in Europe's five major leagues over the past year according to Football Reference. Combine that with his 2.40 shots blocked per game and Aarons has the makings of a well-balanced full-back capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch.
Despite not racking up an inordinate amount of goals or assists, Aarons looks like the type of player who could flourish in the right environment and with the right manager. But will he walk into José Mourinho's welcoming arms in Trigoria or opt for the greener pastures of Premiership heavyweights Antonio Conte and Spurs?