After just a single season as a starter in Serie A, 25 year-old Alisson Becker, known simply as Alisson, has become one of the hottest names in the transfer market. It’s probably with good reason.
Having started all but two games in all competitions this season for AS Roma, Brazil’s first-choice for the World Cup kept seventeen clean sheets in Italy’s top flight, second most overall. In the Champions League he held teams scoreless at Stadio Olimpico until the very last tie against Liverpool in the semifinal (when he conceded two). If, as expected, Brazil make a deep run in the World Cup, his value could skyrocket even more.
Among his suitors are said to be Real Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and Chelsea.
That may be why Chelsea have reportedly already made an offer, in an attempt to preempt a post-tournament bidding war. According to a local newspaper, Pagine Romaniste, Chelsea submitted a €60m opening bid, along with an offer of €4.5m annual wages to the man himself (which translates to about £150k per week pre-tax, or about the same as Courtois’s current salary, but markedly less than Courtois’s salary demands of £200k+). They further claim that a Roma representative will travel to London tomorrow (Tuesday) to meet with Marina Granovskaia.
Despite being heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, #Chelsea have made the first official offer for Roma goalkeeper Alisson in the region of €60million. [Pagine Romaniste]— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) June 4, 2018
An earlier report, this time from Il Messaggero, claims that Alisson’s agent was in London recently and already met at least once with Chelsea. And yet another report claims that the representative has already met with Liverpool as well. He’s certainly a busy man.
The Pagine Romaniste report asserts that Chelsea’s opening bid is likely to be rejected. One of their earlier stories on the young shot stopper speculated that Roma’s hoping the bids will eventually go as high as €80m, which would be an outrageous amount for a goalkeeper. The current record was set just last year, when Manchester City paid Benfica €40m for Ederson. Regardless, Alisson is likely to shatter that record, though the player he would replace at Chelsea might have something to say about that, too.
After all, he is precisely the reason why Chelsea are being linked to the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Alisson. Courtois is entering the final year of his contract. Normally a deal would have been done long before, ideally last summer. Clubs hate losing leverage by letting a player they want to keep enter his last year and have the option to leave on a free transfer. But player and club haven’t been able to agree to terms yet, and at this point it’s hard to be too confident about them doing so after the World Cup. And always hovering menacingly in the background is Real Madrid, especially now that Zidane’s is out — that may have had a positive effect as far as Hazard staying is concerned, but Keylor Navas was apparently a favorite of Zizou’s, and could now be facing the moon-door as well. Courtois, as we know all too well, has talked openly many times about wanting to return to Madrid, to be closer to his children.
So if the goalkeeper rumors are true, then it’s prudent business by Chelsea. At the very least, a fallback option must be established in case Courtois leaves this summer. That’s where the likes of Jack Butland come in. But if we can also land a star-in-the-making like Alisson in the process, then we might even come out ahead in a sense.