Atalanta have moved early in the window to confirm the signing of centre back Cristian Romero on a permanent deal.
The Italian club have been the beneficiaries of a string of strong performances from the 23-year-old Argentine, who featured 31 times in the Serie A for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side. Romero was rewarded for his performances with the Serie A mvp for best defender award at the season’s end.
Best defender: Cristian Romero ! 🔝
Unbeatable in one-to-one confrontation, quick on recoveries and smart at anticipating the opponent’s plays: an outstanding season!https://t.co/HSG11BbPof#SerieATIM #WeAreCalcio pic.twitter.com/e82RrQjMxu
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) May 31, 2021
In the middle of a two-year loan from Juventus, Romero still had twelve months left with Atalanta, yet the side that finished third in Serie A have exercised their option to buy the centre-back one year early. The deal is thought to cost the club around 16 million euros, although they will be disappointed to see such a promising defender leave on the cheap.
With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci both well past their prime years, Juventus will surely be looking for a long-term partner to Matthijs De Ligt in the coming seasons. Cristian Romero could well have been that man, impressing in a back three and a back four this season across both Serie A and the Champions League.
Atalanta will buy newly crowned Defender of The Year, Cristian Romero from Juventus one year earlier than expected for €16m💰
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) June 3, 2021
Indeed, it would seem that Atalanta have grabbed something of a bargain, with the centre-back being valued at £27 million by transfermarkt, around double what Gasperini’s side will pay for him.
Romero’s season could yet get better too, with his inclusion in the Argentinian national side for the Copa America meaning that his good form could lead to bigger things. He is set to make his debut for his country this Friday, with Argentinian boss Lionel Scaloni revealing the side at a pre-match press conference.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni: “The team is confirmed. It’s Martínez, Foyth, Romero, Martínez Quarta, Tagliafico, Paredes, Ocampos, De Paul, Messi, Di María Lautaro Martinez.”
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) June 2, 2021
It remains to be seen just how good Romero can become, but it certainly seems that on the face of it Atalanta have bagged a bargain.