Benching Bove is no big issue, but Roma transfer dilemma is

Roma’s midfield has followed a consistent formula since Daniele De Rossi replaced Jose Mourinho, with one noticeable difference being the lack of space for Edoardo Bove.

Last season was a breakout campaign for one of Roma’s prized academy graduates, who scored the goal that sent his boyhood club into the 2023 Europa League final. Bove made a total of 33 appearances for Roma across the season, 13 of which were starts.

Despite Roma bringing in Leandro Paredes, Renato Sanches and Houssem Aouar for their midfield that summer, Bove continued to cement his importance to Mourinho’s setup in the first half of this season. However, under De Rossi, he has been more of a bench player.

Bove has earned more than 40 appearances for Roma this season and has doubled his number of starts, but those were weighted more towards the Mourinho half of the season. He completed the full 90 minutes of De Rossi’s first two games in charge of Roma, but hasn’t at all in Serie A since.

It has led to rumours of Bove being available for an exit in the summer, with his representatives reportedly unhappy about his decrease in gametime while De Rossi favours a trio of Paredes, Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini. The situation has escalated to an extent where Roma will have to make a serious decision.

Benching Bove has not necessarily been a major issue intrinsically. Still on the under-23 list, he is a young player who is developing his game and needs to enhance certain attributes.

His determination is a discernible asset, but technically, he needs to develop some standout aspects. The signs have suggested he has the potential to do so, but Roma may have to be patient.

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There is always a danger of overloading a young player and seeing them suffer as a result. One example is already in Roma’s first team: Nicola Zalewski. The Polish wide player took his chance towards the back end of Mourinho’s first season and did well, but has looked a shadow of that player for some time now. Rewinding a bit further, Gonzalo Villar was another player who initially looked like he had something, but burned out after being overused by Paulo Fonseca and is not someone who’d be given a second thought about ever since his permanent exit.

If there is a long-term plan for Bove, this management of his minutes might be welcomed. But if it’s simply because he doesn’t fit into De Rossi’s ideas, then there is the bigger question of what his future holds.

Would Roma be risking a repeat of the Riccardo Calafiori scenario, whereby they let go one of their own only to see him blossom into a key player elsewhere in Serie A? They will have to judge each case in isolation, but it might be something they keep in mind.

Could it even be worth thinking about loaning Bove out? It probably won’t come into the equation at this stage, but in theory it would be a more risk-averse strategy if De Rossi was in doubt about his potential.

Bove is under contract with Roma until 2028 after signing a long-term deal one month before De Rossi replaced Mourinho. Yet things can change quickly in this sport.

Of the midfielders who came in last summer, Sanches won’t stick around this year, and even Aouar’s future may be in doubt, but it remains to be seen if Bove will outlast them after all.

He is obviously closely tied to the club and city – which isn’t itself enough to justify a player’s long-term stay, but is a weighty factor if they are good enough – but will their paths diverge or stay on the same track?

Since it isn’t forecasted that Roma will have to rush to make major sales by a certain deadline again, as has happened in recent years, any decision about Bove will be a pure one. Whatever the outcome is seems set to be one of the big talking points of the next few weeks at least.

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