Transfer Market Roundup: Are Roma Stronger or Weaker Than Last Season?

Following a disappointing campaign overall, Roma resorted to the transfer market in an attempt to bolster their ranks and provide José Mourinho with a competent squad, capable of challenging on various fronts.

Last term, the Giallorossi were on the cusp of tasting continental glory for the second year running, but as is often the case, the Europa League gods smiled at Sevilla in a controversial finale that was ultimately decided by dramatic penalty shootouts.

Although the Romans could only return from Budapest with silver medals, at least they had a saga to tell from their European venture. On the other hand, their domestic campaign was utterly forgettable, finishing sixth in the table (it would have been seventh if it wasn’t for Juve’s 10-point deduction).

La Magica was tipped to enjoy an improved Serie A campaign this time around. But with only a single point to show from their first three league fixtures, the situation looks direr than ever for the Special One, with many observers already evoking the infamous Mourinho Third-Season syndrome.

But before we allow this abysmal start to blight our judgment and lead us to premature conclusions, let’s take a closer look at the club’s summer transfer market campaign and try to analyze whether Roma have become stronger or weaker when compared to last season’s squad.


In: Evan Ndicka

Out: Roger Ibanez, William Bianda

With all due respect to William Bianda, he was never truly part of the equation. Therefore, this one is a straight duel between Roger Ibanez, who joined Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli, and Evan Ndicka who signed for Roma on a free transfer after seeing out his contract with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Frenchman is yet to make an appearance for his new club, with Mourinho favoring the trio of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Diego Llorente. Yet, we expect the 24-year-old to lock himself a spot in the starting formation sooner or later.

Moreover, he will most likely be an upgrade on the error-prone Ibanez. This shouldn’t be a daunting task after all. As long he doesn’t earn himself the affection of Lazio fans by constantly gifting them Derby victories with some shocking blunders at the back, it will be mission accomplished for Ndicka.

Verdict: Stronger


In: Rasmus Kristensen

Out: Mathias Vina

We may have envisioned a bit more activity on this front, but Roma only made a single signing for the wingback roles. Rasmus Kristensen joined the club on loan following Leeds United’s relegation to the English Championship.

The 26-year-old Dane will compete for a starting spot on the right flank with Zeki Celik and Rick Karsdorp who’s gradually returning to Mourinho’s good grace following last season’s outburst.

On the opposite flank, left-back Matias Vina joined Sassuolo after spending the second part of last season on loan at Bournemouth. The club didn’t make any signings for this role, but they should have enough options in the form of Leonardo Spinazzola, Nicola Zalewski and Stephan El-Shaarawy.

So while no dramatic changes occurred in this department, Kristensen’s arrival is enough to call it an improvement, even if it wasn’t exactly spectacular.

Verdict: Stronger


In: Leandro Paredes, Renato Sanches, Houssem Aouar, Riccardo Pagano (promoted)

Out: Nemanja Matic, Cristian Volpato, Benjamin Tahirovic, Ante Coric

Now this is the department that Roma prioritized throughout the summer transfer market, at least based on the final outcome.

It was only a few years ago when almost every top European club was after Houssem Aouar. Even though the aura surrounding the Frenchman has dwindled recently, he remains a brilliant playmaker who’s yet to hit his peak. Therefore, signing him on a free transfer can only be deemed as a shrewd piece of business on the management’s part.

Renato Sanches is almost in the same boat. The Portuguese’s career has been hindered by recurring injury problems. This prevented him from showcasing his best skills at Paris Saint-Germain, but if he can restore his best fitness levels, Mourinho will have a devastating box-to-box midfielder at his disposal.

Truth be told, it’s difficult the feel the same sense of excitement regarding Leandro Paredes’ return to the Eternal City, especially following an under-par campaign at Juventus. But we shall see if the World Cup winner can revive his fading playing career at his old club.

On the other hand, the capital side offloaded a few youngsters who were unlikely to feature prominently anyway, the likes of Cristian Voplapto and Benjamin Tahirovic. At least they maintained the promising Edoardo Bove.

But in earnest, they could have done without relinquishing the services of reliable veteran Nemanja Matic, but a reported clash with Mourinho naturally spelled the end of the Serbian’s days in the Italian capital.

But all in all, Aouar and Sanches are enough to tip the scale in favor of the newcomers.

Verdict: Stronger


In: Romelu Lukaku, Sardar Azmoun

Out: Ola Solbakken

On paper, this one doesn’t require any analysis. With Romelu Lukaku in the house (and Sardar Azmoun to a lesser extent), Roma have obviously bolstered their attacking department in the final days of the summer transfer market.

However, we must take into account that the Belgian giant has arrived to replace Tammy Abraham who established himself as a pillar and a fan favorite at the Olimpico Stadium but is currently nursing an ACL injury.

Moreover, Paulo Dybala remains the main attraction in the capital, but his injury record is becoming increasingly alarming.

But theoretically speaking, Roma’s attack is obviously stronger this term.

Verdict: Stronger 


According to the above, Roma have managed to strengthen their ranks in every department except for the goalkeeper’s role where no changes have been made. In short, Mourinho should, at least in theory, have more quality and depth at his disposal.

However, the paper sheet can paint a brighter picture than reality. For instance, the club singed renowned stars in the shape of Aouar and Sanches, however, we’re talking about two players whose careers have been blighted by injuries.

With the likes of Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini constantly struggling for fitness, the Giallorossi can ill-afford to host additional injury-prone stars.

Moreover, the club could have done with an additional signing at the back, while the goalkeeper role has been completely unaddressed, leaving the club at the mercy of Rui Patricio who hasn’t been quite solid recently, to put it mildly.

So while the team has the potential to become a superpower on the Italian landscape if Mourinho can find the right recipe, injury problems could prove to be the most significant hurdle for the club in 2023/24.

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