Roma’s new sporting director Gianluca Petrachi is already turning his attentions to bringing new players into the club, and his gaze appears to be partially cast towards La Liga.
Two of the names most heavily linked with a move to Roma both come from the same Spanish club: Real Betis. Goalkeeper Pau Lopez is seen as the ideal man to help fans forget about the woes of Robin Olsen, while Marc Bartra has been identified as a potential replacement for Kostas Manolas.
Both are good players, who could prove to be solid additions. But how have players fared when joining Roma from La Liga in the past? Here are the 10 most recent players to make such a switch.
Steven Nzonzi (2018)
Somewhat surprisingly, Petrachi’s predecessor Monchi only signed one player from La Liga in his spell as Roma’s sporting director, despite having spent all his previous career in Spain. That player was someone he had signed before, but like the director himself, wasn’t able to replicate the success he had had at Sevilla.
Steven Nzonzi’s first season with Roma was a mix of ups and downs, with the defensive midfielder not showing the form that saw him become an important part of France’s World Cup winning side last summer. After he failed to turn up for his pre-season medicals, it looks like he will be headed for a swift exit.
Thomas Vermaelen (2016)
Not helped by injuries during his time in the capital, the experienced Vermaelen was a big disappointment in his season on loan at Roma from Barcelona. He was sent off within the first half of his debut, picking up two yellow cards in the drawn first leg of the Champions League play-off defeat to Porto.
Beyond that, he was only given six starts in all competitions by Luciano Spalletti, as Manolas, Antonio Rudiger, Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus all proved to be much more reliable options.
Seydou Keita (2014)
Hardly a headline grabber, but always a solid presence in the midfield, Keita arrived at Roma from Barcelona with a wealth of experience in 2014. He became one of the captains of the group, making more than 50 appearances across a two-year spell.
He had won 14 major trophies with Barcelona, but the Malian was not able to add to his honours list in Italy.
Antonio Sanabria (2014)
Another player to have traded the Camp Nou for Stadio Olimpico, Sanabria had bags of potential when he arrived, but the young striker never really got his opportunity to flourish – making only two appearances before being loaned out to Sporting Gijon the next summer.
Roma retained their belief in the player when they inserted a buyback clause into the deal when he was sold to Betis, but that agreement will be relinquished in order to bring Lopez to the club.
Jose Angel (2011)
With John Arne Riise leaving for Fulham in 2011, Roma needed a replacement at left-back, and 20-year-old Spaniard Jose Angel was chosen. After three successful seasons in the Spanish top flight with hometown club Sporting Gijon, he could have turned out to be a shrewd purchase, but the player lasted just a season in Rome before being loaned out to Real Sociedad for two years, and then being sold to Porto.
Bojan Krkic (2011)
Once dubbed the new Messi, Bojan was looking for a change of scenery after dropping down the pecking order at Barcelona. The forward joined Roma in a €12m deal, where he would be coached by a fellow former Barca man, Luis Enrique.
That season did not go exactly as planned, as Roma came seventh in Serie A, with Bojan contributing seven goals from 33 league games. It was his only season at the Olimpico, as he headed to Milan the year after.
Dani Osvaldo (2011)
After playing for the likes of Lecce, Fiorentina and Bologna early in his career, Osvaldo made the switch to Spain in 2010 when he signed for Espanyol – initially on loan. The striker spent one-and-a-half seasons in La Liga, before Roma took him back to Italy.
A controversial character, Osvaldo finished as top scorer in each of his two seasons with Roma, but Roma made a small loss when they sold him to Southampton in 2013.
Fernando Gago (2011)
Gago’s career had stalled at Real Madrid when Roma took the chance to sign him on loan for Enrique’s first season. Roma certainly gave him the opportunity to play more, as he made more appearances than he had managed in his last two years in Madrid, but it wasn’t enough to convince the club to make his signing permanent. The Argentine went to Valencia instead.
Julio Baptista (2008)
Hardly prolific with Real Madrid, Roma gave Baptista the opportunity to revive his career in Italy. His debut was the 2008 Supercoppa Italiana, in which he scored in the penalty shootout as Roma lost to Inter.
He continued his good start to life in Rome with a goal in his second Serie A appearance, and he also scored in the first Derby Della Capitale of the season. However, his numbers began to drop, and he was sold to Malaga in 2011.
Ludovic Giuly (2007)
A fully fledged French international by the time he came to Roma, Giuly had won La Liga with Barcelona in his first two seasons in Catalonia. However, in 2007, he had to make way for emerging talent Lionel Messi, who had taken his place in the team.
Giuly came to Roma, where he lasted just a season, despite being the team’s fourth top scorer in that campaign with eight goals in all. He was also able to add Supercoppa and Coppa Italia winners medals to his cabinet.
Should their arrivals in Rome be confirmed, Lopez and Bartra will be hoping to buck the trend, as several players plucked from La Liga by Roma have not quite worked out as expected. Nonetheless, some were able to add trophies to their collection, and it wouldn’t go amiss if the Betis duo could help Roma achieve some form of major honours again after more than a decade of dust in the cabinet.