Don’t queue up the “It's Happening” GIFs just yet, but where there's smoke, there's fire. According to the most recent reports out of Rome, Paulo Dybala is closer than ever to signing with the Giallorossi. With Inter Milan reportedly cooling on signing La Joya, presumably because they're set in attack with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, Roma has taken the inside track, reportedly offering Dybala a four-year, €24 million deal earlier this week.
On the back of that offer, and perhaps with the realization that he doesn't have as many options as he initially hoped, Dybala is reportedly warming to the idea of life in the Eternal City. So much so that, after a rumored phone call with José Mourinho yesterday, Dybala's agents are set to meet with Roma GM Tiago Pinto this afternoon.
According to multiple outlets (Il Romanista, La Repubblica, and the Corriere dello Sport, among others), Pinto has a conference call today with both Dybala's agent, Jorge Antun, and his marketing representative, Carlos Novel. Despite the €24 million offer floated earlier this week, which would only reach a €6 million annual average if performance-related bonuses were met, Dybala's team is reportedly insisting on a six-million base salary.
Put in simpler terms: Roma must pony up €6 million per year. No performance-related bonuses, no $50 referral credits, no gift vouchers, no B.S. In the words of Randy Moss, Dybala only wants straight cash.
Pinto and the Friedkin Group have taken a measured approach over the past 18 months, slowly removing the stains of their predecessors while shaping a squad fit for Mourinho. This pragmatic approach has worked wonders, as Pinto has found permanent homes for many of Monchi's Misfits while making several shrewd under-the-radar additions, but this is their first real litmus test, their first chance to make a statement signing.
Landing Paulo Dybala, a gifted 28-year-old talent in the prime of his career, would be a dramatic signal of intent from Roma's new owners, definitive proof of their plan to make Roma a winner. But if they quibble over €1.5 million, they risk missing out on the biggest name to land in the capital since another Argentine sensation, Gabriel Batistuta.
It's now or never, Roma. This signing could change everything for the Giallorossi.