Ridiculous stories abound. Also, in doing homepage stuff for the weekend, I noticed a few of Roma's transfer targets looking quite good, so it's time to bring em back, plus a few of the newbies which have come off the presses.
iTunes™: Reggina is "following" him, and I don't think it takes Da Vinci to realize what that means: the return of the Francesco Modesto rumors. I dare say, it sounds like a very logical swap, especially for a club which is rapidly heading towards Serie B with little let up (9 goals, 1 win - ouch). Get Antunes some playing time if it isn't in Rome.
Ahmed Barusso: It looks like the Ghanaian Gladiator could be going out on loan, with Mantova interested in taking him down to Serie B to make their midfield more "robusto". I like the way Mantova thinks. I'm always in favor of something strong, dark, robust and Ghanaian. (I do enjoy a nice Robusta roast.)
I'm a bit hesitant on the loan thing. Not because he's ready - he's not - but because I'm convinced this entire starting XI will go out for an entire month in the spring.
Cicinho: The reports are vague, and it's not too outlandish to think that a media outlet could just assume that Cicinho wants out, so can't really say how legitimate the rumors are. But I don't think anyone would be surprised, especially after he went out on a limb to leave Madrid to come to Rome for more playing time. Hell, he probably would've played more at Real. But please don't go, not yet. (Play him, damnit.)
Paris Hilton.: The sure thing, deal imminent.
Lindsay Lohan.: The 95%, final details in the works.
Pussycat Dolls.: Very likely, things are heading towards Paris.
Fergie.: Looks alright, but don't touch it.
Mariah Carey.: All types of insane. Doesn't even look good.
Jessica Simpson.: The 50/50.
Jamie Murray.: Just below the 50/50, might happen, but most likely will not.
Elisha Cuthbert.: A tough sell, but the right offer could seal the deal.
Ali Larter.: Very unlikely now, but come back a little bit down the line.
Keira Knightley.: Almost impossible. Almost.
Jessica Alba.: Pure fantacalcio.
Francesco Modesto LB (Reggina): This is half making it up, again, half using some logic. If Reggina wants iTunes™, then one would have to assume Roma is interested in renewing their interesting in Modesto. A guy who is clearly not going to be sticking around down south if Reggina gets sent down. A co-ownership with a loan of Antunes going the other way, for at least the spring, would seem like a pretty solid and cheap move, especially if TGIP is still taking his Modesto Viagra. He's quality, and I can't imagine he's interested in sticking around through his prime for a club which is clearly in need of some serious rebuilding. It's like watching a girlfriend develop an eating habit which sees her gain 15 pounds over the course of a month. Sure, the 15 pounds don't look that bad, but you know exactly where this is headed and it's time to get the fuck out of Dodge. NOW. SSR: Jessica Simpson
Jerome Rothen LW (Paris Saint-Germain): Strange, strange rumor. A classic winger rumored to a team which is anything but classic or run of the mill. This one was sent to me by my head Ligue 1 scout Inara, and her thoughts were pretty much on the money:
Lyon tried to get Rothen as a Malouda replacement but PSG wouldn't budge. He used to play with Giuly at Monaco in 2004, and while he was there, he was considered to be one of the best left wingers in Europe. Unfortunately, he moved to PSG and his career suffered under the Paris curse. His form has returned this year, he's been welcomed back to the NT, and he's currently one of the best players in France. He's a way better winger than Giuly.
He's a steady, reliable player who has some of the sweetest crosses you will ever see and will rarely have an off day. But I don't think he's a game changing player like Mancini and won't do anything flashy. For a club that is challenging for the Scudetto and the CL, I don't think he would be more than a back up. But I think that about Giuly too and was surprised that Roma wanted him. Spalletti's been weird all season, so who knows what he's thinking.
All of that just says "not Roma". They don't have many guys who can work with true, lofted crosses - or at least don't have a team which dictates buying a pure crosser - and this team works best when they're hitting the ball on the floor, working towards the center of the pitch from the flanks and finding/making their own space. A dynamic Mancini-type is the mold you're looking for. And I don't care how great anyone's crosses are, the next time I see one head towards Ludovic Giuly I'm getting on the plane, knocking Lulu out and taking his spot. It's like watching a midget try and dunk with cement overshoes on. God, I just want to slap him.
Rotten was bought for roughly 11m from Monaco, Inara suspects his price to have a ceiling of 6m, and I think that's where the rumor makes the most sense: he's relatively cheap. As a backup I can see it, but not as a Mancini replacement. SSR: Torn, because the role/price is the determining factor. As a Mancini replacement, Mariah Carey. As a backup, Elisha Cuthbert. Either way, don't expect it to happen.
Tulio Del Melo ST (Le Mans via Atletico Miniero): 6'3, 22yo Brazilian (might as well get the obvious out of the way early) striker on loan from Atletico Miniero to Le Mans in France. I'll be honest, I know nothing about him other than what I see on paper and YouTuber vids. Second in Ligue 1 scoring with 10 goals, but he's playing in France, where goal scorers have been known to look oood then flame out elsewhere (one or two of them...or a couple thousand). The YouTuber clips really don't tell much other than he seems to have fluid athleticism, good aerial ability and a little bit of Pippo - right place, right time, nose for goal. Little if anything where he has the ball on the ground. The rumors have it pegged at 10m, and he's also given roofied drinks from Palermo (Amauri replacement) and Fiorentina.
Yet another in the fairly expensive young strikers who don't appear to fit anywhere in the system besides as a backup, unless they have underlying wing abilities we're missing. It's one thing to look for the future, it's quite another when you have Vucinic and Okaka on the payroll - two elite young talents. There haven't been too many as of late, but a month or two ago it seemed there was one per day. I know he's a tall, talented central striker and all, but I thought the idea was to get a targetman who is cheap and would be happy getting little PT. But I'm not complaining. Makes you wonder what Spalletti has up his sleeve, if indeed the rumors are true.
Another aspect is that the ever accurate wikipedia says his contract, owned in Brazil, runs out on May 2nd 2008. Take that for what you will, but if true, and he is going up for sale soon (how it works out I don't know but nobody really cares about the details anyway, especially when they involve France), then I suppose that bumps the feasibility up a bit. Something to watch for.
Anywho, I've gotta say I really have no clue. SSR: Uhhh...uhhh....Ali Larter?
Alright, I did the write up before I remembered to check dailymotion, and when I came upon this clip I didn't even need to get past the opening credits to realize...it's destiny. Wait for the bass line. de Melo to Rome!
Johan Elmander ST (Toulouse): Remember this guy? When asked about rumors linking him to places like Roma, Juventus, Lyon and Tottenham he said he didn't want to leave Toulouse for a club that wasn't a "step up", which had just finished 2nd in Ligue 1. They never made the CL group stages, hovered around the drop zone for awhile and are now in 12th place. Methinks Johan may have a touch of Foot In Mouth disease (Or Head In Ass disease, which we can excuse him for since he's been in France for awhile). Regardless, there is no breaking this rumor down, he's going to be way way way too expensive. SSR: Keira
Christian Rigano ST (Levante): Much more feasible, and a name to keep an eye on. Big guy who can add another dimension to the tactics at the top of the formation, and another who would cut off his feet and walk to Rome to wear the shirt. Not the most talented guy you'll ever find, he only has 4 goals this year, including one triple, but his team sucks, and he had a helluva season in Serie A last year (19 goals), ditto for the years previous for Fiorentina down in the dungeons. If you were to make a prototypical third striker for this team - big, strong, targetman, cheap, finishing ability, good noggin, happy to sit on the bench, and did I mention cheap? - he is it. Out of any name I've seen thus far, this one is most likely. SSR: Pussycat Doll
* - And if you recall, Rigano was the one who took Totti down - quite easily - for the penalty against Messina in the last game of the year last spring when Il Capitano was going after the golden boot. I believe at the time he needed two and only had one to overtake the lead from Afonso Alves (yup), and voila, Rigano takes him down in the box in the 2nd half. (Totti missed it but got one anyway.) I don't believe for one second, with Messina already heading down and Christian loving all up on Roma like a sorority girl in heat, he was too upset about conceding that penalty, before or after the actual foul...
Yeah, I'm saying he took him down on purpose. You be the judge.
** - Also, in looking back through the Roma archives for the game info, I found this wonderful little reminder of last year.
4. Wilhelmsson: Thanks for your service since January. Now get the fuck out.
Ah, wonderful times, weren't they?
Tranquillo Barnetta LW (Bayer Leverkusen): His name hasn't popped up recently, but in the Werder - Bayer match from the weekend he had a nice little goal on a powerful shot after being fed a through ball. I like this guy quite a bit, and it'd be nice to see that old Rudi discount get taken off the top. (First goal) SSR: Only because of Rudi...Jaime Murray (Thank god, her lips were really starting to annoy me.)
Juan Manuel Vargas LB (Catania): Yet another non-rumor, but JMV had a helluva game against Udinese this weekend, including an assist on the first goal, and probably kept that pricetag at a firm 10m or whatever the hell it's supposed to be. The man is savage running up and down the flanks, but he honestly looks like Rino Gattuso with talent, out on the wings. I'll take that 8 days a week. So won't the lot of G14. The highlights, with a few examples of his ability. SSR: Keira