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What Will José Mourinho Do With Roma’s Returning Loanees?

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There are some talented players returning to Trigoria soon, but will it be for the long term?

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It was pretty easy to forget this during Roma’s injury-marred season, but the Giallorossi had a lot of senior-team players out on loan for the past year. Whether those loan moves were because they didn’t gel well with Paulo Fonseca or they were just struggling to find any form in Rome, several players on pretty hefty contracts are returning to Roma this summer, and it’s an open question if and how they might fit into the Giallorossi’s long-term plans.

It’s always important to remember that i Lupi operates on a limited budget compared to other clubs of their stature; Roma isn’t Juventus or even pre-downsizing Inter in terms of their ability to just buy whoever they want, whenever they want. If the Giallorossi are able to get something out of a player they had to send out on loan, it will make life a whole lot easier for Tiago Pinto when he wants to drop real money on a starting-eleven improvement. There are certainly a couple of players who, like Rick Karsdorp, have the potential to return to Rome and once again provide quality to the senior side. Who will be next season’s Rick Karsdorp, though?

Cengiz Ünder

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Could He Fit Into Mourinho’s Roma? Where Might He Be Headed?

There’s reason to hope that Ünder could fit into Mourinho’s Roma; at 23, he’s still quite young for an attacking player, and that spring of 2018 is still a fond memory for many a Romanista. Yet the sheer amount of depth the Giallorossi are sporting in Ünder’s position suggests he’ll have to find a new home again. Nicolò Zaniolo and Carles Pérez are still all likely to be above Ünder in the pecking order, and the Turk’s somewhat lackadaisical approach to defending isn’t likely to earn him any love from The Special One.

Given that, I’d put my money on Ünder once again moving away from Rome. I still think that in the right environment, he could find success in the Premier League; in many ways, he is a poor man’s Mo Salah, and we all know how well Salah has performed in England recently. Although a loan seems far more likely than a permanent transfer for the Turkish international, if Tiago Pinto is able to sell Ünder for a profit, that money could be well-spent bringing in a new striker to complement Roma’s bevy of attacking talent on the wings. (Andrea Belotti, anyone?)

Justin Kluivert

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Could He Fit Into Mourinho’s Roma? Where Might He Be Headed?

There’s no doubt that Mourinho has been a fan of Justin Kluivert’s for quite some time; when he came up against the Dutchman in the 2018 Europa League final, Mourinho practically begged him to come play for him someday. That would suggest that there’s a better chance of Kluivert returning to Rome than Ünder, at the very least. Add in the fact that at age 22, Kluivert is even younger than Roma’s other loanee winger, and you can definitely imagine a 2021-2022 Roma that includes Kluivert back at the Stadio Olimpico.

As for where he might go if not Rome, that’s an excellent question. Kluivert was somewhat unimpressive while on loan at RB Leipzig; although Leipzig did quite well in the Bundesliga this season, the Dutchman’s four goals and one assist across all competitions did little to advance their cause. If Mourinho decides that Kluivert isn’t the right fit for his Roma, I could see Justin heading to another Serie A club, maybe even A.C. Milan (his father’s old stomping grounds). If there’s any one player out on loan who I think will return to the Giallorossi next season, though, it’s definitely Kluivert. I just have the gut feeling that his story in Rome isn’t done yet.

Robin Olsen

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Could He Fit Into Mourinho’s Roma? Where Might He Be Headed?

It would be so convenient if the Swedish shot-stopper (nice alliteration, huh?) could be the long-term replacement for Pau Lopez that every Giallorossi fan wants. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no indication that Olsen will ever play for Roma again; all signs point to the idea that he wasn’t exactly beloved at the club before his first loan move, so the idea of him returning and taking Pau Lopez’s place is a pipe dream at best.

At the very least, we know that Olsen isn’t staying at Everton. The club that just lost Carlo Ancelotti apparently has no intention of redeeming Olsen, meaning that the Swede will probably be looking for a new club again this summer. Just like Ünder, I could see Olsen remaining in the Premier League on a long-term basis, but I could also see him returning to a smaller Serie A club like Cagliari. At age 31, what you see is what you get with Olsen; unlike Ünder and Kluivert, there’s next to no chance that Olsen is going to unlock never-before-seen potential in the near future. It’ll be good work by Tiago Pinto to get Olsen off of Roma’s hair for good; we’ll see if the fresh-faced Portuguese GM can pull it off.

Alessandro Florenzi

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Could He Fit Into Mourinho’s Roma? Where Might He Be Headed?

Call me sentimental, but I think that Alessandro Florenzi could fit into just about any manager’s Roma. The trademark of his career to date has been adaptability; even though he’s a starting fullback for the Azzurri and PSG these days, you have to remember that he started out as a midfielder and could probably play in any outfield position and do a decent job at it. The bigger question is if José Mourinho and Florenzi can see eye-to-eye on his potential future role for the Giallorossi. Florenzi reportedly left Roma on loan in the first place because Paulo Fonseca wouldn’t guarantee him the starting right-back spot; will Florenzi have the same issue with Mourinho?

If he does, it seems likely that there are a slew of clubs who would be interested in the Roman’s services. Recent rumors have connected Ale to Juventus and Inter Milan, and if he leaves Roma for good, I could see him thriving at either of those clubs. I for one hope that Florenzi is able to have a renaissance in Rome, even if it means that Rick Karsdorp’s most recent excellent season at the Olimpico was a short-term run of good form. It felt uncomfortable for me to see Florenzi in a PSG kit this past season; I don’t want to think about how I would feel if he was wearing a Juventus kit full-time.

Poll

Who should Jose Mourinho prioritize keeping at the club?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Cengiz Ünder
    (43 votes)
  • 38%
    Justin Kluivert
    (281 votes)
  • 0%
    Robin Olsen
    (5 votes)
  • 54%
    Alessandro Florenzi
    (393 votes)
722 votes total Vote Now