Written by Jeroen Adriaanse (@J_Adriaanse)
AS Roma have approached Feyenoord over a move for the 22-year-old Rick Karsdorp. Manager Eusebio Di Francesco is looking to bolster his defensive options this summer and the Dutch international would have to strengthen the right-back position.
Last week, Romaâs newly appointed sporting director Monchi already completed the signing of central defender Hector Moreno from PSV Eindhoven. The imminent acquisition of Karsdorp, however, would also be right up his alley, as Monchi is known for buying affordable talents with sell-on values.
After Di Francesco was unveiled as the new Roma manager, the 47-year-old Italian told the press that he will bring an attacking style of football to the Stadio Olimpico next season. With Karsdorp closing in on a move to AS Roma, Di Francesco - a pupil of Zdenek Zeman and thus an admirer of the Dutch-inspired 4-3-3 formation - could already be livingup to his promise. During his time at Sassuolo, Di Francesco already tried to lure Karsdorp to Italy to replace Sime Vrsaljko.
After coming through the ranks of the clubâs youth academy, Karsdorp used to play as an attacking midfielder. One of his former managers at Feyenoord, Fred Rutten, however, decided to turn him into a right-back when he enjoyed his breakthrough in 2015 â a career defining moment.
Having spent much of his youth in central-midfield, Karsdorp has the physical and technical profile to excel as an attack-minded fullback. He enjoys dribbling down the line or receiving from an inverted winger before delivering a cross. Moreover, he has the passing range to switch the play when needed. Despite his abilities going forward, keep in mind not to underestimate his effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball.
Yet, Karsdorp himself identified one weakness to his game after his team just clinched their first Dutch championship of the century with a 3-1 home win against Heracles. âI do not consider this to be a good season, as strange as it may sound. Last year, I recorded eleven assists, whereas I failed to do so this season,â he said after the final whistle.
However, this could be ascribed to the fact that his role changed a bit compared to the 2015/16 campaign. Last season, his manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, opted to use Karsdorp as an extra midfielder from time to time â much like Pep Guardiola used to do with for instance Philip Lahm during his time at Bayern Munich. As an inverted fullback, Karsdorp would cut inside to get involved in the game, accompanied by his excellent passing skills and vision, and carry the ball into central areas when going forward.
At this point, AS Roma continue to negotiate with Feyenoord over a fee. Given his age and potential, Karsdorp could end up being a bargain for the Giallorossi. But then again, what do you expect when Monchi is pulling the strings?