Five questions Roma must address in the last week of the mercato

Roma have just one week left to make any final alterations to their squad before the transfer window closes on 2nd September.

The season has started with a frustrating 3-3 draw with Genoa, which has raised several questions about the squad despite some promising moments. There are just seven days left to rectify any issues by bringing in new faces, so here are five questions Roma and Gianluca Petrachi must ask before the deadline passes.

Will Fonseca get his centre-back?

Roma’s need for a new central defender has been a long-running narrative all summer, even before the departure of Kostas Manolas to Napoli. Paulo Fonseca has repeated that he wants to see his backline reinforced further, despite the signings of Gianluca Mancini and full-backs Leonardo Spinazzola and Davide Zappacosta.

However, the coach has admitted that he won’t ask Petrachi to sign any defender for the sake of it, but it has to be someone who fits the right profile – experienced and comfortable playing in his high line. The options are not plentiful, with a club statement confirming that Roma will not be targeting any Torino players in the wake of comments from their president Urbano Cairo, which rules out a move for Nicolas Nkoulou. Can Roma find the defender they so desperately need?

Can Roma get rid of the deadweight?

As the market approaches its conclusion, the likes of Robin Olsen, Maxime Gonalons and Gregoire Defrel are still under contract. These players have shown that they are not good enough for Roma, so it would have been expected that solutions would have been found by now. Olsen’s proposed move to Montpellier controversially fell through, while Sampdoria are pushing for a reunion with Defrel, who spent the last season on loan there. As for Gonalons, reported interest from England failed to materialise into a bid. Will Roma get rid of these players in time?

What will happen with Schick?

Another player who has not reached the required standards, but whom some still feel deserves another chance, is Patrik Schick. However, the Czech striker was an unused substitute against Genoa, and did not have the best pre-season despite scoring some decent goals.

Roma need to decide quickly if he is up to the task of being Dzeko’s deputy, or a more reliable alternative is needed. If they do sell him before 1st February, then former club Sampdoria will be entitled to either €20m or 50% of the sell-on fee – whichever is greater. It’s quite clear that Roma will have to pay the €20m, then, but what is the best solution for the player? Does he move out on loan, with many Bundesliga clubs interested, or does he stay for one final crack at delivering on his expectations?

Are more options out wide needed?

Roma lost Stephan El Shaarawy to Shanghai Shenhua near the start of the transfer window, and are yet to replace him. Diego Perotti missed the Genoa match through injury, with tests confirming he could be out for two months. That may provide youngster Mirko Antonucci an opportunity, but is he really ready yet?

The way Roma had to chase the winner against Genoa, without success, perhaps suggests a Plan B is needed. But is there enough time to get someone over the line?

Will Roma make a positive or negative net spend?

After spending big on the likes of Leonardo Spinazzola and Pau Lopez, it appears there are limited funds left for this summer. Around €80m has been spent on incoming transfers, while player sales have brought in about €90m. Of course, some of those deals took place in the previous financial year, before 1st July, so Roma may not have much to spend if they want to keep the books balanced for this period. Loan signings look the most likely scenario, but is there enough loose change to target one more permanent transfer and stay in the black?

All in all, it could be an eventful seven days as Roma make the final tweaks to their squad.

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