Another day, another transfer rumour for the Manchester United central defender position.
This time it’s Atalanta’s leader at the back, Cristian Romero, who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer to become the new partner alongside captain Harry Maguire.
But who is Romero and what would he bring to United that they don’t already currently have among their centre back options? How much would he cost? Would he be a good choice? We’ve done all the digging so that you don’t have to. Here’s everything you need to know about the Reds’ latest target at the back…
The 23-year-old defender spent last season on loan with Atalanta from Turin giants Juventus, who spent €26million snapping him up from Genoa in July 2019.
Despite spending that figure though, he has yet to play a game for I Bianconeri. He immediately returned on loan to Genoa after signing, before the move to Atalanta where he has really exploded to become one of the best in the league in his position.
The loan was originally signed for two years until 2022, with this season’s Serie A runners-up taking up their obligation to buy him a year early. But his form has seen him linked with a big money move early, or even a potential return to Juventus.
What is Romero’s style of play?
Romero is terrific in the air, quick across the turf, a great reader of the game and strong in the tackle.
An added quality he possesses is that he is also excellent at playing out from the back, something United want in whoever they bring in as the partner for Maguire. Romero completed 86 per cent of all his passes this season across 42 appearances in Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia, which is right in line with the rest of United’s current options.
The Argentina international’s aerial ability stands out as the best among United’s current centre-back options. He won 3.8 aerial duels per game this season across all competitions, while Maguire won 3.7 and Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly won 2.
How much would he cost?
It’s believed that clubs have been interested in signing Romero for around £40million, but it’s highly unlikely that will be enough to prise the Argentine away from his current club.
After spending €26million on him two years ago and then loaning him out, Juventus recently received €20million from Atalanta to make the move permanent as per the terms of their loan. It’s said Atalanta want at least €60million (£52m) to sell him this summer.
What do his peers think?
Genoa legend Claudio Onofri gave plenty of praise to Romero during his spell at the club back in 2019. After shining with the Serie A outfit for two seasons he said Romero is “destined to reach very high levels.”
Onofri name-checked Romero as “a fan of Chelsea” to talk up the level he could potentially play at, meaning United won’t be getting someone with a mentality for a small club.
He was also voted as the Serie A defender of the year for the 2020/21 season and was called up to the Argentina national team for the first time, making his international debut in the recent 1-1 friendly draw with Chile.