Who is this Radja Nainggolan who is frequently being brought up in papers? Why do all these clubs want to sign him at any cost? Juventus offered his parent club apparently €18 million euros just for fifty percent of his rights, BUT WHY?
Radja Nainggolan is currently playing for AS Roma but is half owned by Cagliari, a club going down to Serie B. In the Italian league there is this thing called “co-ownership” all co-ownership deals must be resolved by the end of July, but if you are a little unsure with the way it works I will quickly explain.
Co-ownership is a lot like a loan but instead of just getting him for a season he can stay on at another club for as long as they wish. In this case, Roma owns fifty percent of Nainggolan while Cagliari own the other fifty. In 2013 Roma purchased half of Nainggolan’s rights for a fee of €3 million and had the option to purchase the other half for €6 million.
That one year has now passed and Roma were impressed with Radja and would like to take up the option, but Cagliari keep driving up the price because of how much interest he attracted, and it isn’t difficult to see why.
Often referred to as “El Ninja” because of his ability, Radja played 50 games with Roma, netting 7 times and getting 5 assists. This season alone he played 35 games, Radja had 5 goals, 2 assists, and took 81 shots in total. Not that impressive seeing as how he was featured in almost every Roma game, but it isn’t his numbers that makes El Ninja so lethal, it’s his style of play.
Nainggolan is every coaches dream player, Radja is a center midfielder but has averaged the most successful tackles two seasons in a row (2.5 per game). Radja is one of the most complete center midfielder’s in the modern game, he is pacey, has quick feet, vision so natural he can thread a needle the first time around, a cannon for a right foot and is equally as good with his left. Nainggolan is a traditional box-to-box midfielder who never tires and you can expect him to last the full 90.
Furthermore, Radja may not put up the most impressive numbers but he is one of the best modern center midfielder to date. Some people refer to El Ninja as a poor mans Arturo Vidal but I wonder if that’s really the case, Vidal might put up better numbers in regards to offence, yes, but Vidal’s aggression gets him in trouble a lot of the time where as Nainggolan has well-timed tackles, also has a very calm head.
In my opinion, the Belgian international would look good in any jersey and would perform anywhere he went. There is speculation about a big money move to English League giants like Arsenal and Liverpool; Nainggolan would excel in both teams. Tactically, he is everything Arsene Wenger wants – hard working and gritty; not afraid to get stuck in and wont mind taking a swing or two.
Brendan Rodgers on the other hand, may want somebody to hold the midfield together, which the Belgian can do, he is very versatile in that sense and can be deployed as a defensive mid and exhibits excellent leadership qualities. I remember watching El Ninja the first time he played, I thought to myself “this is a twisted joke, I thought Roma was trying to win games and emulate Juventus’ success” Mr. Nainggolan immediately made me eat my words, his work rate just made me regret having that thought and every time coach Rudi Garcia would leave him out of the starting lineup my immediate thought was “Roma will lose this one, they need some sort of stability.” Rudi Garcia was quoted saying in an interview “I have big plans for Radja Nainggolan.”
Easily a top midfielder, easily worth every penny any team dishes out for him, a real game changer.
Update: Roma purchased Nainggolans other half for 9 million Euros on June 24 2015.