Tammy Abraham has been Roma‘s standout player this season, netting 27 goals in all competitions. He showed up in the biggest moment for the club, and his importance to the team goes further than his goal contributions. His linkup play with captain Lorenzo Pellegrini has been second to none at times.
However, Roma will still miss out on Champions League football next season, despite a weaker Serie A this year. Abraham will have to settle for the Europa League instead, missing the top four by seven points. How could such a good individual season translate into a poor team season overall?
Tammy Abraham and the Problem at AS Roma
Roma have been unable to find another reliable source of goals. Pellegrini’s season was quite productive initially but has only managed to find the net four times since the start of 2022, all from dead-ball situations (two freekicks and two penalties). No other player has scored more than five goals this season. This results in Roma being the third-worst team in goals per game in the top half of the season, only above tenth-placed Torino and conservative Juventus. Pairing this with the fact that Roma doesn’t have a stellar defence more than explains their sixth-placed finish.
Abraham is not a conventional number nine that plays with his back to the goal and waits to poach in the box. He drops back to get involved in play and set up others. Without a legitimate second option on his side, he isn’t as effective as he could be. The reliance of Jose Mourinho’s side on Abraham becomes evident when looking at the number of points the Englishman has racked up virtually by himself. 12 points were determined by 1-0 Roma wins with Abraham winners.
Out of their 11 league defeats, eight of them happened when Abraham didn’t find the back of the net – another evidence of Roma’s inability to find another player to step up and pull the team out of a bad situation. This made Roma a very easy team to counter throughout the year. During the second half of the season, Abraham had to rely more on set pieces and counter-attacks to score, as he wasn’t able to receive the ball in dangerous areas during open play.
Nearly a Loanee
A prolific modern 24-year-old striker is the type of player clubs build their squads around. Abraham’s current contract situation at Roma makes that difficult. After next season, Chelsea could activate a buy-back clause for Abraham for €80 million, making him practically a loanee for Roma.
Other clubs like Arsenal are reportedly interested in acquiring Abraham. The Englishman’s presence in Italy feels more like a chapter of his story than his actual story. Should Mourinho build his squad around him, risking potentially losing him next year and missing the key piece of his puzzle? Or are the Friedkin’s confident that they can negotiate with Chelsea and keep Abraham in the long run? This dilemma awaits Roma in the coming months.