As Carlo Ancelotti settles in to life in Naples, Max Allegri haggles with the Juventus board for a sizable war chest, last term’s third best club Roma have wasted little time in taking action in the transfer market.
With the World Cup on the horizon, the work already achieved by Sporting Director Monchi is to be admired, and there is an evident pattern in the Spaniard’s dealings since moving to Italy.
Two of the 49-year-old’s first signings were Hector Moreno, a no-nonsense defender brought in to add depth to the backline, and former Manchester City full-back Aleksandar Kolarov.
Aside from their positions, the other connection between the duo were their ages. The Serbian international was the wrong side of 30 upon arrival and Moreno has now hit this milestone. Further forward, Monchi signed Turkish starlet Cengiz Under and Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick at 19 and 21 respectively.
Now 12 months later, and the Lupi have already secured the services of 30-year-old defender Ivan Marcano from Porto and youthful midfielders Ante Coric and Bryan Cristante, and it’s evident there is a certain profile in place for both ends of the pitch. The front six positions continue to go through constant evolution while the rearguard offers the experience in the side.
Roma’s first choice midfield currently reads captain Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan, but there are varying doubts on each. Belgium star and heartbeat of the team Nainggolan continues to be linked with big money moves to China and Inter, and this summer is likely to be the player’s final opportunity at securing one last lucrative transfer.
Colleagues De Rossi and Strootman are still top drawer performers, but can’t be relied upon to play every week after accumulating their fair share of injuries over the years. Meanwhile, local lad Lorenzo Pellegrini’s modest €25m buyout clause is likely to be met, either by a club in Serie A or in England, and the Giallorossi have acted emphatically as a result.
Promisingly, Roma have not rested on their laurels, and with rumoured bids for Justin Kluivert and Ajax team-mate Hakim Ziyech already lodged, Eusebio Di Francesco could be spoilt for choice ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
The Italian tactician has a proven track record with burgeoning talents and in Coric, Under, Schick, with Kluivert potentially to add to the mix, Roma could possess the most sought after wonderkids on the continent. The ex-Sassuolo boss will be managing potential stars of the future, but, crucially, good enough to play and learn in the present.
While Edin Dzeko arguably remains one of the first names on the teamsheet, the Bosnian isn’t get any younger, and provided his move comes to fruition, Kluivert will form a quartet that has all the necessary qualities to transform Roma gradually, but successfully, over time as Monchi’s image on the squad continues to take shape.