View from Italy: Antonio Conte can make Alessio Romagnoli a world-class defender
With Alessio Romagnoli the subject of an improved offer from Chelsea, Eurosport Italy's Mattia Fontana answers some key questions on the young defender...
What's his background?
He grew up at AS Roma and he played his first match as left back when he was just 17. The following year, he was used as a replacement player mainly on the flank, even if he is a centre-back. He had a great season on loan at Sampdoria (2014-15) and was sold by AS Roma to AC Milan just because the Giallorossi needed fresh money (€25m in 2015).
Juventus' Carlos Tevez (R) challenges Sampdoria's Alessio Romagnoli during their Serie A soccer match at the Marassi stadium in Genoa, Italy, May 2, 2015Reuters
How good has he been at Milan?
His first season in Milan wasn’t as great as expected, but he surely wasn’t the problem in the troubled Rossoneri season. He showed great personality and great technique, with a good left foot. He has been compared by many to Alessandro Nesta and, in some way, the comparison is good. He hasn’t got the class of the former Italy and Milan stalwart, but it’s so difficult to find a 19 or 20 year-old centre-back to play regularly in Serie A.
He is, alongside Daniele Rugani, the best prospect among young Italian centre-backs. I think he can become a world-class player if he finds a good coach (Antonio Conte could be perfect and improve his way of playing out from the back, like he did with Leonardo Bonucci). Most importantly though, he must fully concentrate on being a centre-back, which he is not at the moment. He can make great tackles and, soon after, make a completely wrong decision (he’s 21, after all). An example of this was against Torino, when he forgot to mark Daniele Baselli in their second goal on Sunday.