Even though the club signed veteran midfielder Nemanja Matic on a free-agent deal earlier this week, Roma’s exhaustive search for a (young) defensive midfielder continues as we work our way through mid-June.
While Matic will steady the ship for the 2022-2023 season, José Mourinho and GM Tiago Pinto have identified several targets to fill the position on a long-term basis. First among these marks is Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz.
Still, with the Brazilian midfielder perhaps a bit too expensive for Roma’s current tastes, the Giallorossi are being linked with a host of alternatives to the 24-year-old.
Late Friday afternoon we discussed the surprising addition of Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer to the rumor mill. Sabitzer, who signed with Bayern last August, may find himself searching for a new club after a rather pedestrian debut season with the perpetual German champions.
While rumor holds that Roma and Bayern have had preliminary discussions on a potential €15 to €20 million transfer for the 28-year-old Austrian international, the Spanish press has connected a new name with the capital club: Saúl Niguez.
Saúl, a 27-year-old Spanish utility midfielder, came up through the Atletico Madrid ranks in the early days of the 2010s and was a mainstay for the Mattress Makers, making 188 La Liga starts between 2015 and 2021.
Capable of playing various midfield roles, including defensive mid, Saúl’s standing with Atletico fell precipitously once the twenty-teens gave way to the twenty-twenties.
From 33 appearances and more than 2,000 league minutes during the ‘20-’21 season, Saúl saw a measly 201 minutes with Atletico this past season before joining Chelsea on loan on deadline day last summer.
Unfortunately for Saúl, the new location didn’t bring better luck. Buried on the bench at Stamford Bridge, Niguez logged only 480 league minutes for the Blues this season, returning to Atletico as fresh and as frustrated as the day he left.