With the weekend in full gear, let's take a break from the Paulo Dybala stories and focus on the latest name on Roma's transfer radar: Atalanta combo forward/midfielder Mario Pašalić. The 27-year-old Croatian is coming off a career year with the Goddesses, posting 13 goals and six assists in 37 league appearances for the Bergamo-based club. However, despite that breakthrough, Pašalić plans to take his talents elsewhere this season, at least according to the Corriere dello Sport.
Atalanta and Roma have met at the transfer table many times over the past several years, with names like Bryan Cristante, Gianluca Mancini, and Roger Ibañez trading their black and blue kits for Roma's glorious red and yellow shirts. Considering that, it's not surprising that the Italian press continues to link the two clubs, with the Gazzetta dello Sport proposing a Stephan El Shaarawy-for-Luis Muriel trade a mere 48 hours ago.
And as we head into the real dog days of summer, the Corriere continues to link two of Italy's best second-tier clubs. Earlier today, the Roman-based paper reported that the Giallorossi are interested in signing the €20 million-rated Pašalić, who may willingly leave Gasperini's stat-stuffing safe haven for the chaos of the capital.
There is just one tiny problem, though: the cost. While €20 million isn't much in the grand scheme of (transfer) things, with the Friedkin Group desperately trying to delist the club from the Italian stock exchange, money is an issue for the club now. Accordingly, the Corriere suggests that, much like this week's Muriel story, Roma is willing to include either El Shaarawy or midfielder Jordan Veretout as a makeweight in any Pašalić deal.
Pašalić's name may not carry as much cachet as El Shaarawy's, and while he's benefited from Gasperini's attack-at-all-costs approach, the Croatian forward has still compiled an impressive 39 goals and 22 assists in all competition since signing with Atalanta in 2018. Moreover, he brings an incredibly diverse skill set to the pitch, having played left-wing, center-forward, attacking midfielder, central midfielder, and even defensive midfielder over the past year for club and country.
With José Mourinho shifting between various tactical approaches last season, a player like Pašalić could help The Special One keep Roma's opponents at sixes and sevens as the Giallorossi strive to return to the Champions League.
So, what do we think: Is Pašalić the missing piece?