After a sterling start to their campaign, Roma can approach the silly season with a great deal of calm. The Giallorossi are sitting pretty near the summit of the Serie A standings, and any alterations to an already strong squad should be little more than cosmetic.
The capital have a new general manager in Tiago Pinto with the club targeting reinforcements at right-back and in attack. No defender in the league has more assists than Rick Karsdorp (four), but a more reliable deputy than the disappointing Bruno Peres must be found.
The Brazilian has been loaned out twice in the past two and a half years, and it would be no surprise to see a similar arrangement struck this time around to make room for a younger alternative. A host of names have been linked, with Rennes teenager Brandon Soppy and Celtic’s Jeremie Frimpong two of the leading candidates, while FC Dallas’ Ryan Reynolds seems set to move to Juventus via Benevento.
Meanwhile, a more experienced option is the order of the day on offense. The Carles Perez experiment has not worked out, with the Barcelona academy product used only sparingly since his arrival last winter. Finding someone capable of spelling veteran creators Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro is paramount, especially considering La Lupa’s crowded fixture list between now and May.
The search for a suitable backup could lead to the return of an old flame. Stephan El Shaarawy saw a mooted move back to his former club foiled at the end of the summer transfer window, but the Giallorossi are set to try again just a few months later. Fiorentina and Atalanta also in the hunt for the Pharaoh’s signature.
Another possibility is ex-Shakhtar Donetsk schemer Bernard, who worked under Paulo Fonseca for two years at the Ukrainian giants.
That familiarity makes the diminutive dynamo an attractive prospect, and the Portuguese tactician has called the player’s agent to try and facilitate a move. The South American could serve as a makeweight in a transaction that allows Robin Olsen to prolong his stay at Everton.
The Swedish shot-stopper flattered to deceive in the Eternal City, and his former employers still have problems in net. La Lupa have conceded more goals (23) than any other side in the top eight, and that is down in part to a lack of security between the sticks.
Pau Lopez has failed to justify his exorbitant €23.5 million price tag, while Antonio Mirante is little more than a solid second string. Replacing the expensive Spaniard may prove impossible this month but doing so should be a top priority heading into the offseason.
Lopez is almost surely staying put for now, but the Giallorossi will hope to have more success offloading the rest of their deadwood. The aforementioned Peres and Perez are both available for transfer, while Juan Jesus, Federico Fazio, Davide Santon and Amadou Diawara join them on the list of undesirables.
The majority of those names are the wrong side of 30, and part of the plan is surely to draft in a host of fresh-faced talent in their stead.
Roma are not the wealthiest club on the Peninsula, and a focus on the medium-to-long term is imperative if they hope to consistently challenge for silverware. Fortunately for Giallorossi fans, much of the groundwork for a team capable of competing with the elite has already been laid.