by Vittorio Campanile
Roma are ready to make their first major move of the summer transfer window with a swoop for Lille defender Marko Basa.
Coach Rudi Garcia is keen to bolster his defensive options ahead of the new season and has identified the Montenegro defender as his top priority.
Garcia led the Giallorossi to a second-place finish in Serie A last term, securing the return of Champions League football to the capital.
He has now told club officials he wants suitable alternatives in every position in order to deal with the demands of an increased fixture calendar, with 29-year-old Basa, who played under Garcia at Lille and Le Mans, a top priority.
The 50-year-old coach has spoken to the defender a number of times in an attempt to convince the former Lokomotiv Moscow stopper to join him in Rome. However, it is believed he would not be brought in as a direct replacement for Mehdi Benatia, who has been linked with a move to a number of clubs including Manchester City and Manchester United.
Current Lille coach Rene Girard is keen to keep his man but Basa has decided he would rather continue his career in Italy.
Roma are ready to pay around €3 million [£2.4m] for his services, but he will only be allowed to leave the club should Girard give the move his blessing.
Basa would be Roma’s second signing of the summer after the arrival of Seydou Keita on a free transfer from Valencia.