La Gazzetta dello Sport (Massimo Cecchini) Ever since the time of the barbarian invasions, people in Rome have understood that one’s enemies can become the best of friends. And it’s about to happen again, given that they are looking to Lyon – who knocked the Giallorossi out of the Europa League last season – to sign 28 year old Maxime Gonalons, the conductor of the Lyon orchestra and French international. The Frenchman’s agent Frederic Guerra, who was at Trigoria two days ago for talks, confirmed the club’s interest. “Roma’s interest is real,” he told Centro Suono. “The clubs haven’t reached an agreement, but we’re nearly there. I think it will be done by 30th June.”
His departure is likely, partly because Gonalons’ relationship with president Aulas has completely broken down. “He doesn’t invest in the team,” he complained. “He only thinks about himself,” the president replied. This became the prelude to the transfer that the midfielder had already asked for. An agreement of a 4-year deal worth €2 million net a season plus bonuses has already been reached, and an agreement between the 2 clubs isn’t far off. Lyon are asking for €9 million, Roma are offering €5 million plus bonuses: a deal could be done for €7 million, partly because Gonalons’ contract expires in 2018 and in 6 months he could leave for free.
All this, obviously, is possible because Paredes is on his way out. Zenit are currently in Rome to conclude deals for him and Manolas – they have already reached an agreement of €35 million for the latter – and they are doing all they can to sign Paredes, offering him €4 million a season. The Argentine’s agent is taking his time, however, because he’s hoping that Bayern Munich and Juventus, who both think highly of Paredes, will come forward with a concrete offer. They will need to do so quickly though, because the Russians don’t have much time – their league season starts in mid-July. It’s possible that the player’s assent to the €25 million move will come overnight.
But sporting director Monchi isn’t just thinking about the midfield. While the club waits to see how things develop with the expensive Berardi and Lyon’s Ghezzal (again), the director’s eyes have fallen on 2 big names for the attack. The first is Florian Thauvin of Marseille, 24 years old, who scored 15 league goals last season. The Spanish sporting director thinks highly of him, but is also keeping an eye on the situation of Stevan Jovetic, 27 years old; Sevilla agreed a fee of €13 million with Inter to make his loan move permanent but are asking for a reduction. 2 days ago Monchi made enquiries about the situation with the player’s agent Ramadani, and also asked about Nastasic, a centre back who has been of interest to Roma for some time.
There are a number of other players being considered for the defence, from the young Argentine Foyth (Estudiantes) to Real Madrid’s Nacho, who was close to signing last year, and Lemos (Las Palmas). But that isn’t enough because, despite Karsdorp’s arrival, the club also need to sort out the left back situation, where Strinic (Napoli) and even former player Digne (Barcelona) are being considered.
The club’s management team have various meetings coming up, but there is one – probably today – whose importance cannot be underestimated. This is the one with captain Totti, who returned – posting upbeat messages on social media – from his holiday in Greece yesterday. Now the Giallorossi’s former number 10 will have to decide, together with the club’s management, what sort of role he will take up, or perhaps whether he will end his association with the club and go to play elsewhere. Abroad, obviously, possibly in Japan, where he has already received one invitation. Hanyu Hideaki, president of Tokyo Verdy, currently in the Japanese second division, said to Nikkansports: “It’s true we’re interested in Totti. We’ve contacted him, but he’s asking for a contract worth €3 million. To have him here would be a dream.” And that’s how it will remain.
Talking of Romanisti, incidentally, the Giallorossi will make do with Pellegrini, who will sign a contract – with a release clause – with the club after his agent and Massara flew out to Poland to meet him. The young Romanisti are growing up.