Name: Daniele De Rossi
Projected Transfer Fee: €25-30 million
- Work ethic
- Long-rang shooting
Roma's vice-captain and midfield dynamo has emerged as one of the special talents in world football. The Italian international has all the technical and physical qualities of a top player, but his intangibles set him apart from the rest.
As Roma's Capitan Futuro and a strong candidate for the Italian captaincy, De Rossi is one of the great leaders in modern football. The midfielder plays with unmatched determination, exemplifying the heart and soul of an archetypal captain.
De Rossi's energy and work ethic are hallmarks of his game. Whether deployed as a defensive or true central midfielder, the Italian tirelessly tracks back in defense and gets forward to support the attack. The iconic midfielder is the driving force of both club and country, making him one of the best box-to-box players in the world.
De Rossi is a commanding presence in midfield, using his grit and strength to break up opposition play. The combative midfielder is tough in the challenge, but has good tackling technique. Along with an excellent sliding tackle, De Rossi stays tight to markers and reads the game well. With his work-rate and natural defensive instincts, the Roma icon has all the qualities of a top holding midfielder.
In addition to his exemplary intangibles, De Rossi has outstanding skill on the ball. The Roma vice-captain is a pass-master, dictating tempo and spreading play. The Italian can play short one-two's or long balls with both feet, which are key to his great combination play and distribution.
De Rossi also boasts magnificent vision, and with his passing ability, the Roma midfielder is always a threat to make the killer pass. The Italian has world-class technique when striking the ball. De Rossi is known for his thunderous long-range efforts, making him a serious threat from outside the area.
For a box-to-box defensive midfielder, the Italian provides a unique combination of tenacity and technical ability.
De Rossi's only real weakness is his occasional lack of discipline. The Italian's red card for elbowing Brian McBride in the 2006 World Cup revealed the player's short fuse. Roma's combative midfielder has been prone to lash out, which has led to his high yellow card count in recent years and the two red cards in this year's Serie A campaign.
Although De Rossi receives a lot of bookings, he does not commit a large number of fouls. In his defensive midfield role at Roma, the Italian has only committed 40 or less fouls in three consecutive seasons of domestic football.
De Rossi claims the No. 1 spot as the top midfielder Real Madrid should buy this summer due to his style of play and fit with the team.
The Roma vice-captain is one of the most undervalued and underrated stars in Europe. With his club failing to keep up with the likes of Inter Milan and AC Milan, De Rossi has been flying under the radar in Italy. The midfielder has immeasurable intangibles and world-class talent. De Rossi has been the heartbeat of Roma for years, excelling as a dynamic defensive midfielder.
With new ownership at the club, Madrid have a rare window of opportunity to sign the Italian. De Rossi only has one year left on his current contract and has yet to reach an agreement with the club over a new deal. Although there are rumours that he is close to signing an extension, Madrid could capitalize on the current situation.
The new owners will not want to lose the iconic midfielder on a free transfer after next season, which opens the door for Madrid to swoop for the player. If Madrid bid roughly €30 million, Roma would have to seriously consider selling the player and using the transfer fee to rebuild the team. While there is still a strong possibility that De Rossi will sign an extension in the coming days, Madrid should still be looking to acquire the player.
If the midfielder's valuation rises to €35-40 million, Los Blancos would still be paying more than fair value for the player. At 27 years old, De Rossi is in his prime footballing years and should be commanding a transfer fee of players like Munich's Schweinsteiger.
Following the departure of Jorge Valdano, Mourinho now has complete control over transfers and will be in search of the perfect fit for Madrid's midfield. Although he has preferred athletic and powerful defensive midfield enforcers with past teams, De Rossi is the dynamic player to bring out the best of Madrid's current squad.
The Italian midfielder is the missing link to Mourinho's team, and his arrival would have an immediate impact on the club. De Rossi would slot into the starting 11 alongside Alonso. The Italian's impressive skill set and style of play make him not only the perfect complement for the Spaniard in midfield, but the ideal fit for the team.
In his partnership with Alonso, De Rossi brings the steel and work-rate that will balance the Spaniard's craft and positional sense. The Italian midfielder provides the quickness and tenacity that Alonso lacks. Although the Roma icon will be a defensive improvement from Khedira and Diarra, he would have a significant influence over Madrid's play when in possession as well.
As an accomplished passer with both feet, De Rossi will command more attention on the ball than Madrid's current group of central midfielders. The Italian can play intricate one-twos with Alonso and give Madrid a better tempo when in possession. His skill on the ball will create more time and space for the Spaniard to pick apart opposing defenses.
In addition, De Rossi's technical ability and range of passing will give more balance to the team when in possession. Top clubs have stifled Madrid's attacking rhythm by pressuring Alonso high up the field, forcing Khedira and Diarra to distribute and dictate play. Both players showed a lack of vision and ability to pick a pass, which frequently led to Madrid losing possession.
With the likes of Ronaldo and Ozil in attack, Madrid prefer to play the ball on the ground and penetrate opponents with quick, incisive passing. De Rossi would be a perfect fit for that style of play, providing another dimension in midfield that Madrid lacked this season.
Roma's iconic midfielder has the quality and class to elevate Alonso's game and return Madrid to domestic and European glory.