Having returned to Chelsea’s Champions League group stage rivals AS Roma in the summer after a two-year spell with Sassuolo* — alongside new head coach Eusebio Di Francesco — 21-year-old midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini has impressed not just in domestic but European competition as well. Unsurprisingly, his name is now being mentioned in connection with some of the biggest names around Europe, which, according to Fox Sports Italia, include Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain as well.
(Ed.note: It’s at this point that it’s worth remembering the rule of thumb when it comes to transfer rumors: when three or more teams are name-dropped, it’s usually just an agent getting the word out to start a bit of conversation going around his client.)
Beyond his age and his promise, what makes Pellegrini a potential name to watch in upcoming transfer windows is that his current contract includes a €25m release clause, which in the current market is basically nothing. So even though Pellegrini is signed up through the 2021-22 season, there is a clear and easy pathway for him to leave the Giallorossi for bigger and better things.
In what is sure to be music to his agent’s ears, these rumors have supposedly already spurred Roma into action at the negotiating table, but if any of the big boys act quickly, they could possibly find a bargain here.
For Chelsea, any such rumors will always be greeted with the usual conundrum of buying versus promoting from within, especially with the likes of Cesc Fàbregas growing older. Pellegrini is no doubt a quality midfielder, but unless he offers something more beyond the likes of Loftus-Cheek, Baker, or whoever your favorite midfield prospect may be, even that bargain €25m could be better spent elsewhere.
* Roma initially sold Pellegrini to Sassuolo for a little over €1m, but included a €10m buy-back clause, which they were able to exercise two years later. Buy-back clauses, they work!