Despite failing to sign the Brazilian striker in the summer transfer window, Marcos Leonardo could soon join AS Roma. Santos FC sporting director Alexandre Gallo confirmed this, saying that the club will let the promising striker leave in January. Santos had refused to sell their star in the summer, preferring to wait until the conclusion of the Brazilian Série A season.
Once a dominant club in Brazil, historic side Santos is currently battling relegation. They have won just five of 22 matches this season, scoring only 21 times — less than a goal per game. It’s understandable, then, that they don’t want to sell Marcos Leonardo. The 21-year-old striker is their leading goalscorer, with eight goals, and has also chipped in with two assists.
Roma pursued Leonardo heavily in the summer, hoping to give José Mourinho a promising, dynamic attacker to boost the offense. However, Roma’s attempts to sign the Santos forward were rejected, and the club turned their attention elsewhere. Sardar Azmoun and Romelu Lukaku were brought in on loan, but the club still hopes to bring in Leonardo.
Roma’s director Tiago Pinto declared interest in Leonardo just days after the transfer window closed. Pinto stated Leonardo was a target with big potential and they would try to make a deal happen, per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. Roma has failed to start the season strongly, tying Salernitana and losing to ten-man sides AC Milan and Hellas Verona.
Striker Tammy Abraham is injured until January with a cruciate ligament injury, while Paulo Dybala and Azmoun have both missed the start of the season due to injuries. Andrea Belotti has been the lone bright spot for the offense so far, with two goals in three matches.
Roma isn’t the only club trying to sign the Brazilian, however. Premier League side Manchester United has been linked with the club and reportedly could be ready to offer more than the Italian club. However, Leonardo would almost certainly get more playing time in Rome, with Manchester United having Anthony Martial and recently signed Rasmus Højlund up top.
Image Courtesy of SOCCER DIGITAL, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.