Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) Ricky Massara and Walter Sabatini, together again. Yesterday evening the two met in London, together with intermediary Frank Trimboli, for a friendly reunion of colleagues and friends, but which also served a more professional purpose. But Massara didn’t just fly to England to meet his old master, who is currently in talks to potentially take up a role with Tottenham; the main purpose of his trip was to evaluate potential transfer options. For the avoidance of doubt, Franco Baldini – former general director of both Roma and Tottenham and currently Pallotta’s personal advisor – wasn’t present in London, choosing not to interrupt his holiday in South Africa for a working dinner.
Barring any major surprises, Massara won’t go back to Trigoria having completed any deals. That isn’t even in his remit, as his boss Baldissoni is currently discussing how the club should approach the transfer market with the president. Instead, his objective is to sound out two forwards: Charly Musonda of Chelsea and Gerard Deulofeu of Everton. Roma are currently more intent on acquiring information than acting; Massara is weighing up the pros and cons of the various options ahead of choosing the player who could stand in for Salah. At the same time, he is on the lookout for new opportunities that may present themselves.
In Musonda’s case, the cards are on the table following an interview with his father – who, like his son, is called Charly. “We’re talking to Roma. If he doesn’t stay at Chelsea, he’ll go on loan to Roma. It’s up to Antonio Conte.” But Musonda doesn’t seem to be Massara’s first choice, who is instead keeping his options open. Of the two, he would definitely prefer Deulofeu, as he is the Spain Under-21 captain, is two years older (22 versus 20) and has more confidence of playing abroad, given that he left Barcelona at a very young age. He could be signed on loan with an option to buy while Musonda, at the most, would be signed on an 18-month loan before Chelsea took him back. However, Milan are also interested in Deulofeu, and since both clubs are interested in Badelj as well it won’t be easy to close a deal.
As so often happens, the breakthrough could be the result of another set of negotiations entirely. Deulofeu has the same agent as Jesé Rodriguez, who has been heavily targeted by Roma in the last few weeks. The agent of both players is the Spaniard Gines Carvajal. And those who think that talks between Roma and PSG have broken down are probably mistaken. It doesn’t matter to those at Trigoria that Jesé has accepted a major pay cut (€3.5m) to play at Las Palmas (where he was born) for five months. What matters to them is that they haven’t yet convinced the player, who has undisputed talent but an incomprehensible character, to join Roma, as he is currently going through some difficult times with PSG after being excluded from a tour of Tunisia (some believe that Jesé is so angry with them that he isn’t answering phone calls from the club’s directors).
Taking everything into account, in percentage terms the situation is probably 35% Deulofeu, 35% Jesé, 30% Musonda. A fourth option could present itself in the form of Memphis Depay of Manchester United. There are still many possible outcomes.
If Massara bought a player every time he went abroad, Roma would already have signed Jesé. Massara doesn’t lack initiative and has already been to Paris on two occasions, trying to secure an early deal on the basis of a loan deal (€2m) with an option to buy (the price of this option hasn’t yet been decided). However, it doesn’t seem that this was enough – at least not for the time being.