Transfer Talk: Abraham attracting attention after Roman rise
Eyebrows were raised in Italy when Roma paid £34million to sign Tammy Abraham last summer — but that fee is starting to look like a bargain.
After falling out of favour during his final season at Chelsea, the forward has found a new lease of life in the Italian capital.
Unsurprisingly, Premier League clubs are taking note, with rumours of a return to Stamford Bridge or a move to Arsenal starting to circulate.
As Abraham's current side prepare to take on Feyenoord in tonight's Europa Conference League final, we reflect on his stellar campaign and consider what is next for the England star.
Abraham hit the ground running at the Stadio Olimpico, registering three goal contributions in his first two Serie A appearances.
And — barring a barren spell in October — the goals have continued to flow for the 24-year-old.
A brace in the final game of the season took his league tally to 17, making him the record English scorer in a single Italian top-flight campaign.
The striker has been a revelation in Rome, firing Jose Mourinho's side to a sixth-place finish and this evening's inaugural Europa Conference League final in Tirana.
Abraham was criticised for his lack of creativity while he was at Stamford Bridge — but Mourinho has played to his No9's strengths to get the best out of him.
Roma will often soak up pressure from opposition teams, before playing the ball long to their talisman to kick-start counter-attacks.
The 6ft 3in frontman then utilises his sizeable frame to hold the ball up and lay it off to a team-mate, providing an outlet for his fellow forwards.
But the 10-cap international also makes deceptive runs when out of possession, which creates space for the Giallorossi's midfielders to run into.
And his imposing presence allows him to act as a decoy up front, one who consistently drags opposition defenders out of position.
While Mourinho's sides are not renowned for their relentless pressing, Abraham plays a key role in Roma's attempts to regain the ball high up the pitch.
The striker uses his breakneck speed to close down opposition defenders, cutting off any potential passing lanes and forcing riskier passes further upfield.
However, it is the Camberwell native's tireless tracking back that has really won over the Giallorossi faithful.
One example which stood out this season was in the Derby della Capitale, when Abraham sprinted back to the halfway line to cut out an emerging Lazio counter-attack — prompting the Olimpico to erupt with jubilation.
London is looking like the most likely destination for Abraham, should a summer move materialise.
Arsenal will be searching for at least one striker in the upcoming window, following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's dramatic mid-season exit and with Alexandre Lacazette's contract set to expire.
The Gunners' failure to clinch a top-four spot was partly down to their lack of centre-forward options, so it will be no surprise if they revive their interest in Abraham.
But that move may not go down well across the capital, with his former club Chelsea also reported to be on the lookout for a new attacker to lead the line.
The £97.5m spent on Romelu Lukaku is yet to bear fruit, so alternative options will undoubtedly be under consideration at Stamford Bridge.
At home in Rome
Rumours of a return to the Premier League may be rife — but Abraham himself has played down talk of a potential departure.
Speaking last week, he said: "Like I've always said, I fell in love with this club from the first day and I will always help the team as much as possible with my goals and assists.
"It's been a good year for me, I hope to build on this year and hopefully we can finish with a trophy and it can be the perfect year.
"I love this club. They've given me the opportunity to show myself, my heart is here. We'll see what the future holds, but my heart is here."
There is no denying the affinity that Abraham has developed for Roma, so it will surely prove difficult to prise him away from the Eternal City this summer.