Matias Nani player profile: Who is Roma’s new signing?

Roma have completed the signing of Matias Nani on a free transfer from Lanus. The young Argentine defender has been training with the Giallorossi since last July, but has only now been given clearance to play for the club.

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Nani is a centre back, born in 1998, and was signed primarily for the Primavera with the idea that he would also be available for the first team if necessary. Over the past few months he has trained on a number of occasions with Luciano Spalletti’s senior side, an in an Instagram post he wrote “I’m happy with this new experience” as he posed alongside Francesco Totti, Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan, adding in another post that “This is a brilliant experience”.

Many in Argentina believe that the left-footed centre back has great promise: he played for Argentinos Juniors before joining Lanus, who he helped to 4th place in the Under 20 Copa Libertadores. This experience earned him a call-up to the Argentina Under 20 side, but while he represents Argentina at international level he also holds an EU passport, meaning Roma could register him straight away.

Despite arriving in Rome last summer, he only made his first appearance for the Primavera on 4th February against Pisa (alongside Roma’s only January signing Clément Grenier). Why was there such a delay? According to Lanus’ president, it was because Roma had signed him without paying the Argentine club anything at all. After hearrived at Trigoria, the club’s directors told Olé that “Roma sent us a letter asking if he was still registered for Lanus, we replied that he was and asked them to send him back to us because he was still part of our youth setup and we held his ownership rights. They never replied to us and he kept on training with them in Italy.”

Having been advised by the player’s agent, Pablo Sabbag (who also represents, among others, Erik Lamela and Leandro Paredes), that Nani’s contract expired in June, Roma believed that Nani was available on a free transfer when they brought him to Trigoria in July and therefore didn’t pay a fee to Lanus for the transfer. After much bureaucratic wrangling, the matter has finally been resolved, though it isn’t yet clear whether Roma will have pay (or if have already paid) Lanus compensation. Alberto De Rossi, the Primavera coach, told Roma TV on Friday night that “He’s a very dependable, professional guy, he’s been training with us for a little while. He’s finally available to us now and we believe he’s a player with great potential.”

Nani has settled in quickly at Roma, partly thanks to the number of other Argentine players at the club, and has formed a close friendship with Leandro Paredes. The former Boca Juniors midfielder was one of the first to welcome him to Rome and the pair have often been seen going out in the evenings with their partners. It was on such an occasion that Nani’s arrival was given more publicity, when the owner of a South American restaurant (often frequented by Roma’s Argentine players) posted a photo online of himself with Paredes and Nani, with the caption: “Here is Roma’s new defender”.

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