Roma are the new Southampton. Or at least they could be if all of Liverpool’s rumoured moves with the Serie A side come off this January, as following reports out of Brazil that the Reds were negotiating to sign goalkeeper Alisson Becker we’ve got a new set of rumours and a second Roma star.
The rumour mill in Italy has been hard at work and spit out midfielder Kevin Strootman, Roma’s 27-year-old midfielder and a man who on paper at least would fill Liverpool’s need for a number six with Jordan Henderson an ongoing injury concern and Emre Can a seeming certainty to depart.
Premium Sport claim contact has already been made and that a January move is possible, though as a short-term solution there are more than a few question marks that cast doubt on the rumour. For one, Strootman would cost a lot. For another, he’s cup-tied. And then, longer-term, there’s his age.
If he could step into the six in all competitions this season that might not be a problem, but Strootman turns 28 in February and would be 29 by the end of next season. That’s very much the profile of an instant impact, post-peak footballer when most expect Liverpool to target prime or pre-prime players.
Teammate Alisson is 25 and in a position players tend to peak later in. Recent signing Virgil van Dijk is 26. Rumoured Coutinho replacements Thomas Lemar and Nabil Fekir are 22 and 24 respectively, while Coutinho himself was 25. All are just entering their prime years—or younger, in Lemar’s case.
For the right price, Strootman is a very good player who fills a need, but for a club like Liverpool that can spend a lot but can’t really compete with the likes of Manchester City there does remain a need to try to buy players at the start of their best years rather than the end if they’re to find success.
This is doubly true following the sale of a superstar like Coutinho—the goal is replacing him with players good enough to start now, who taken collectively mean Liverpool at least don’t take a step back on the pitch as a result of his departure, but who still have room to get even better.
That’s not Kevin Strootman. Though if Roma are shopping him and the price is right, it would be difficult to complain if a deal for him rather unexpectedly did come to fruition.