Roma keeping Spanish right-back options open

Barcelona's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin reacts during the UEFA Champions League 1st round day 5, Group C football match between FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 26, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP) (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho will be seeking a replacement right-back at the next opportunity, following the November spat with Rick Karsdorp, which led to the Dutch defender leaving the Italian capital in frustration. But while some reports insist the Roma boss has already earmarked his replacement, contrasting news elsewhere claims that other interesting options remain on the table.

Rampant speculation surrounding Roma

The January transfer window is notoriously surrounded by rumours and gossip, although this does inevitably keep football fans captivated, wondering about which players their clubs will buy and sell during the winter market. This is particularly the case when considering the biggest European clubs, who boast growing support in practically every corner of the globe.

Some of those fans are following potential player moves with such interest, wagering on transfer deals has become one of the most popular betting markets, including those across the Asian continent. Punters in Vietnam can find more information via guides provided by Asiabet’s catalogue of sports betting sites, known in Vietnamese as cá cược thể thao trực tuyến, highlighting the options available, plus the latest odds and promotions.

When it comes to news focused on which players Roma are said to be tracking, various contrasting stories have inevitably emerged throughout the European media, which is hardly surprising for such an important and ambitious club. The presence of Mourinho as manager also fuels many of the rumours, given the huge respect he still retains as one of the most successful and famed head coaches in football.

Spanish full-back duo top the shortlist

Having slipped further down the pecking order at Real Madrid, 26-year-old Alvaro Odriozola is widely tipped to leave the club during the January transfer window, keen to secure a more important role for himself elsewhere. One club tipped with interest is Roma, with Tuttosport recently claiming talks had already been held with his representatives, weighing up the possibility of an initial deal on loan with an obligatory option to buy for €10 million.

Nevertheless, reports from Barca Universal would seem to highlight another potential target, as Roma keep their options open for the right-back slot, at least for now. They believe the Italian club is carefully monitoring the current situation of Hector Bellerin, who performed exceptionally on loan at Real Betis during the 2021-22 season, before heading to Barcelona last summer once his contract at Arsenal expired.

But having spent just 321 minutes on the pitch, during 8 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, the 27-year-old could be tempted by guaranteed games elsewhere. This has apparently piqued the interest of Mourinho – prompting Roma to step up their pursuit – aware they could potentially get the player for free. He is contracted to Barcelona until the end of the season, and with their own January plans, could be willing to get his wages off the books.

Which option presents the best value?

Given the two Spanish options being highlighted, both of whom are genuinely quality players, this leads to questions regarding which is the better option. Truth be told, neither player has been particularly impressive during the current season, although this is largely due to their limited number of minutes on the pitch. But at the very least, Bellerin has featured in games, whereas Odriozola hasn’t made a single appearance this term.

The key advantage for Odriozola is his experience in Serie A – on loan at Fiorentina last season – where he certainly looked competent. Otherwise, he hasn’t been a regular starter at Real Madrid, or during a brief loan at Bayern Munich in 2019-20, since being signed from Real Sociedad. For his part, Bellerin became a key player at Arsenal over seven seasons at the club, before opting for a return home to Spain, producing quality performances at Real Betis.

Any move for Odriozola would be a significant investment, assuming that Real Madrid would want some kind of initial payment for the loan, plus an obligatory €10 million purchase clause at the end of the season. By comparison, Roma could haggle to get Bellerin for Barcelona, either for free or for a token transfer fee given his contract expires in the summer, making him the much better option in terms of value for money.

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