Out of all the incomings at the Stadio Olimpico this summer, the sight of Rasmus Kristensen walking through the door is surely the hardest to make sense of. The Danish right-back arrives from recently relegated Leeds United and does so with the West Yorkshire club not standing in his way.
Roma is on the rise while Kristensen’s stock is falling
So, how is it then that a player deemed not good enough for the Championship ends up at a club that is at just 10/1 in the latest football odds to win Serie A?
It’s also worth considering that Roma will play in the Europa League during the 2023/2024 season. Furthermore, Mourinho’s men only narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot after losing the Europa League final to Sevilla on penalties. The Spanish club is now at 50/1 in the latest Champions League betting odds to win the showpiece at Wembley Stadium next season. The broader point is that Roma is a team making headway both domestically and on the continent, so why have they turned to Kristensen, a man who was ever-present in a defence that conceded the most goals in the Premier League during the 22/23 season?
AS Roma are set to sign Rasmus Kristensen, deal in place with Leeds United. Loan until June 2024 agreed on player and clubs side. ??
Kristensen will follow Llorente as new Roma signing… coming from Leeds. pic.twitter.com/XeL8fwSp8t
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 12, 2023
In truth, it is a question that only Mourinho can answer.
A penny for Mourinho’s thoughts
However, if you had to make a case for it, the rationale would be that Kristensen may be better suited to playing in a low defensive block as opposed to Leeds’ gung-ho attack-at-all-costs philosophy. The counterargument would be that the Dane played in this exact defensive formation in the last four games of the season as Leeds made one last-ditch attempt to stave off relegation by hiring Sam Allardyce. The 68-year-old took an instant liking to Kristensen and started him in a low block for the remainder of the campaign; Leeds would go on to concede 11 goals.
In the Dane’s defence, the Whites were in a free fall at this stage and had very little chance of course-correcting. Indeed, the problems at Elland Road ran deep and it should be noted that Kristensen was one of the few players to end the season with a degree of self-respect – the Dane netted a deflected goal against Newcastle to earn Leeds a point with three games to go.
Kristensen will give everything he can to the Roma cause
To that end, Roma will be getting a player whose commitment to the cause cannot be questioned. In fact, the Danish international informed Leeds that he would be open to staying at Elland Road to help in the promotion push, but the subsequent arrival of new manager Daniel Farke has led to the Whites listening to offers for him.
Perhaps Kristensen was a man in the wrong place at the wrong time during his single season at Leeds and Mourinho will get the best out of him. However, after spells in the Austrian Bundesliga and then being relegated with Leeds during his first season in England, Kristensen arrives in the Eternal City with everything to prove.
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