Mario Rui is a player that AS Roma would very much like to keep for next season, as a solid reserve fullback who gives their team a lot of safety and security. But after failing to play much for the team last season after recovering from a knee injury, the Portuguese fullback wants out — and apparently he wants to return to Maurizio Sarri.
That’s because there are reports coming out of Italy that Rui is going to approach Roma on Monday to request a transfer to Napoli, thanks to finding significant success with Sarri when the two were together several years ago at Empoli. Now with Napoli in the market for defenders and Roma in the middle of a change in manager, the opportunity apparently seems right to Rui to head back to that safety net, and given Sarri’s rumored desire to bring him in a year ago, making that reunion happen seems like a good idea.
Rui, now 26, isn’t a star-level defender by any means, but he’s a solid left back who can play some on the right as well. He’s not going to drop jaws, but he’s a good player who can start games in Serie A without being a liability for his team. That’s a valuable thing, and with it feeling likely that one of Faouzi Ghoulam or Ivan Strinic could be sold this summer, replacing them cheaply would be excellent.
Roma spent €9 million in total to sign Rui in a loan-to-buy deal from Empoli a year ago, and they likely wouldn’t want to take a significant loss on that, if any at all. But it doesn’t seem as though he’s in the plans of new manager Eusebio di Francesco, so they likely wouldn’t hold Napoli up for too much of a transfer fee.
This isn’t the kind of transfer that would completely change the team or wildly improve it, but it would be the kind of deal that helps create a strong and stable base for the team to grow on. That’s always a good move to make, and not one that any fan should be upset to see if it comes to fruition.