Roma have raced out of the blocks to secure four signings at this still embryonic stage of the transfer window as they look to close the gap at the top and push on after Eusebio Di Francesco’s impressive first season at the helm.
Monchi was always adept at securing promising young talent in his role at Sevilla and is beginning to flex his scouting muscles with the signing of some of Europe’s most sought-after youngsters. The Spaniard is credited for the conveyor belt of talent which passed through the Andalusian side throughout his 17-year tenure in Seville and now he is looking to replicate his success in the Italian capital.
So far, the Giallorossi have snapped up a number of rising stars in Ante Coric, Justin Kluivert and Bryan Cristante, as well as Ivan Marcano – an experienced central defender who comes in off the back of a title-winning season with FC Porto.
Ante Coric, a Croatian creative midfielder, who only missed out on a World Cup place due to the vast amount of talent the national side has at its disposal, has previously been linked with almost all of Europe’s top strata – with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City all showing interest in the 21-year-old at one stage or another.
Coric has been highly-regarded for some time and is frequently likened to Croatia and Real Madrid star Luka Modric, whilst being dubbed in some circles as the ‘Croatian Messi’ – not to pile pressure on his still maturing shoulders. He has made a name for himself as a modern No.10, though he is no stranger to the deeper role where he can dictate the play. Although the standard of football between the Czech First League and the Serie A is considerable, given time the young man is expected to shine.
Another player making a similar progressive career step is Ajax graduate and son of former Barcelona and Milan striker Patrick Kluivert – Justin. It is hoped that the junior Kluivert, a supposed target of Manchester United, will inject a new wave of creativity into an already exciting Roma frontline.
The tricky winger predominantly plays on the left, cutting in on his slightly favoured right foot, though the Dutchman is equally as capable with either boot. Kluivert has been praised for his creativity which he will look to bring to Rome, with mazy runs and shots from distance all part of his repertoire. This move to one of Europe’s top sides will give him a platform to emerge from the shadow of his father and allow him to fulfil his incredible potential.
In addition to these exciting youngsters new to the league, Roma have plumped for someone in Bryan Cristante who is finally starting to prove himself in Italy after all the hype when he burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at AC Milan.
Cristante, now 23, flourished last season under Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta, in a team which employ a pressing game not too dissimilar from the Giallorossi, hence it is hoped his transition into his new squad will be seamless.
Competent defensively and effective going forward the young Italian was said to have been attracting suitors from England, with Arsenal and Chelsea strongly linked with moves for him, but as with Kluivert and Coric, Roma have pressed on with ruthless efficiency as they look to get their squad together as early as possible.
The signings that go against the youthful grain are 29-year-old Javier Pastore – who is not a new name on the Italian football scene – and 30-year-old centre back Ivan Marcano. The experienced Spaniard has been drafted in to help bolster a side which had the second-best defensive record in the league last season.
Marcano has won trophies in Greece, Russia and most recently Portugal and has also captained Porto on a number of occasions. Whilst being a competent defender, he is good in the air and physically strong which makes him an added danger from set pieces.
While their positive summer of dealings has taken something of a setback with the recent sale of Radja Nainggolan to Inter, there is still plenty of potential with the new arrivals.
Furthermore, the best piece of business the Giallorossi may end up doing this is keeping goalkeeper Alisson Becker out of the clutches of Real Madrid. The Brazilian shot-stopper has had a phenomenal season helping them to a Champions League semi-final and a third-place finish in the league.
If Roma really want to challenge for the Scudetto next season not only do they need to make shrewd signings, they also need to keep hold of the star players that remain in the Eternal City. It may be a long old summer ahead, particularly with Real Madrid lurking around.