Portuguese connection was key to recruiting Sergio Oliveira

Sergio Oliveira of AS Roma

Although his career has featured several temporary loan spells, midfielder Sergio Oliveira has already started to lay down root at Roma following his move to the club last month.

It’s taken the Portuguese international next to no time to begin proving his worth in the Italian capital, proving early on he’s exactly the type of player the Giallorossi needed.

Keen to help Roma make progress

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the first loan signing of the January window, closely followed by the arrival of Sergio Oliveira, when his arrival was confirmed by the official Roma website on 12 January. “It’s amazing to be here at this great club,” the 29-year-old midfielder declared with enthusiasm, having sealed an initial loan deal until 30 June 2022. This includes an option for the Giallorossi to make the transfer permanent from Porto for €13.5 million.

Oliveira immediately repaid the confidence of his new club, producing a man-of-the-match performance and the winning goal on his debut, as Roma ran out 1-0 winners against Cagliari. That was followed by an excellent display in the 3-1 Coppa Italia victory against Lecce, then an outstanding individual showcase of his ability in the 4-2 win at Empoli, contributing a goal and an assist in yet another man-of-the-match outing.

Clearly enjoying his football and relishing the opportunity, Oliveira has highlighted what brought him to the club in the first place. “I followed Roma for Pinto and Mourinho,” he explained of the Portuguese influence in the Italian capital, which inevitably aided the decision to leave Porto and make the switch to Roma. “The team can achieve great goals, but you have to take one step at a time,” he cautioned, regardless of positive results following his arrival.

“I wanted to change after having an excellent campaign last season,” Oliveira pointed out regarding his decision to leave Porto. “I want to stay here for a long time and prove my worth,” he indicated, keen to lock down a long-term switch to Roma once the season ends.

Given his levels of performance thus far, it’s hard to imagine the club passing up on the opportunity to make that happen, for what could easily be regarded as a relatively bargain fee.

Top four challenge or ongoing rebuild?

Glancing through the outright Serie A markets available at many of the leading bookmakers, Roma could find it difficult to achieve their ambitions of securing a top four finish, priced at odds ranging anywhere between 9.00 and 13.00 at the end of January. Given the variance, using a reliable list of the best betting sites is always worthwhile, which is why SBO has produced an extensive guide to the most reputable online bookmakers. This covers everything in detail, from which sites offer cash out options, to those with the most reliable mobile betting platforms.

Many tipsters are actually in two minds about how Roma will fare, between the end of the January transfer window and the conclusion of the 2021-22 campaign. After making a positive start and winning their opening three games of the season, form and results have largely been inconsistent, despite hefty spending following the arrival of Mourinho last summer. Just shy of €100 million was invested in six players, amidst expectations of challenging for the top four.

Several notable senior players also departed, including the likes of Edin Dzeko to Inter and Pedro to Lazio, while Juan Jesus left for Napoli and Javier Pastore concluded his disappointing time at the club. After such a period of upheaval within the squad, it’s fair to say the 2021-22 season was always going to be regarded as a period of transition, albeit with certain expectations attached given the appointment of Mourinho.

Thus far, the team has fallen short during the first half of a stop-start campaign, unable to put a significant run of results together that might otherwise inspire greater confidence. Roma are a long way behind Inter, Napoli and AC Milan in the top three, although improved form of late gives plenty of reasons to be hopeful. If they can close the slender gap on Atalanta and Juventus, there will be a tense battle for fourth spot and Champions League football.

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