Disclaimer: I likely do not know what the hell I am talking about. I nearly had to be committed during the middle of writing this post for a variety of reasons (including rehab for a severe Kenyan coffee bean addiction), namely trying to figure out who's running the show in Rome at the moment. Is Luciano making the calls? Is he dictating who he wants Roma to buy? Or is Rosella laying her foot down financially? Is she figuring out pricetags and then handing a list of possible targets over to Luciano? Or maybe they're making mad passionate love? Who knows.
(Her eyes just scream, "I have no fucking idea what I'm doing. Somebody get me outta here!" You know.....I've seen worse. That's all I'm going to say)
Bye Chivu, Hello Chaos:
* - Before we delve in the post-Chivu era, it looks like Barca have handed Roma a final €18m offer and will decide over the next 24/48 hours. You do that offer yesterday Prade, yesterday. Keep him out of Serie A and take in a good bit of bank. Is it too much to think we'll be hearing an announcement in the very near future?
Now that we can essentially wrap up the Christian Chivu era at Roma (even though a deal isn't done - he's out), let's waste no time in looking to the future. It's unlikely the money acquired will be put directly back into the market, Roma has some boneheaded business decisions they need to atone for. I'd think only a small chuck of that money, if any, gets put back into the market. The only way I see them doing otherwise is if they actually have a chance at acquiring Fab Quags, but we'll get to that later. There are still some holes in the roster that need some figuring out, so let's all get a caffeine rush and analyze this.
As for what the Chivu deal means for the rest of the mercato, I look at it like this: Roma have replaced Chivu in the start XI with Juan, and at a very minimal drop off in terms of talent. There has been a less-than-subtle attempt by Roma to let the world know they want to bring in a "championship-calibre" right-winger (or left-winger, depending on where Luciano wants to play him or her). We all know the usual suspects: Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Rosina, Julien Faubert, and Franco Semioli. I'm leaving Mauro Esposito off that list because world-class players don't come on co-ownership deals unless they were previously unknown (see: Fab Quags), and injuries have limited his form over the last year to a sizable degree. Giandomenico Mesto is another supposed option on the right wing, but it's likely he'll see action all over the place, so I'm not sure he's strictly being sought out for that right wing position.
Fab Quags is possibly in the running, but Pietro Leonardo is a dickhead and won't sell unless the offer is superb, regardless of what Fabio wants (and we all know Pietro doesn't like Roma and vice-versa). I don't see Rosinaldo moving this summer, nor do the majority of people following the mercato. Semioli is likely headed to Firenze, because Chievo and Fiorentina have been reportedly discussing player's heading down to Serie B, as well as the fact that he's been rumored to be heading there since Julius Caesar conquered Gaul. That leaves us with Faubert, but Bordeaux's hierarchy have been stricken with Aulasitis. I was fairly sure Roma would acquire him at some point, but it all comes down to whether or not Roma can appease the ridiculous (€15m) demands of Bordeaux. And let me tell you, pleasing a bunch of French guys is not easy. Or so I've heard.
So where does the Chivu sale leave Roma in terms of wants and needs? Let's see.
The Post-Chivu Breakdown:
The Winger: I love Taddei, there are few players I feel are more valuable on this team, but Roma could benefit from the addition of a world-class, or a potentially world-class, winger. Here's my take on how they are handling this situation: I doubt Fab Quags arrives, it's going to take a lot of work and a lot of resources just to even get Udinese to consider a deal. My feeling is that Roma are going after guys like Faubert, Cicinho and Mesto because of the situation at RB. Not only do they want to be able to drop a winger back there at some point, in order to get both the acquisition and Taddei/someone else in the lineup, but also because the current options at right fullback aren't ideal. A winger who is able to drop back and defend adequately when Panucci overlaps or Cassetti starts setting up shop in the box (or the left-wing, where ya going Marco?) would do well to help eliminate some of the counter attacks on the right wing. Let's face it, Christian is getting old and Cassetti has an offensive based game for a defender. Roma needs a guy who can a) take over if Panucci's body finally quits, b) mark the opposition well, and c) take possession from other players. Marco can force opposing attackers to lose possession, but he doesn't disrupt and then obtain possession often enough. It's typically giving up a corner or a throw-in rather than initiating a counter. Faubert can absolutely do that and so can't Gidom. I think this is one of the big reasons Roma is going hard after Mesto. That and versatility is becoming the name of the game at the Olimpico these days, and rightfully so.
Prediction: We know Bordeaux made ridiculous demands, but Julien reportedly went in and repeated his demand to be moved. The Reggina prez says that he and Roma are close on a deal, but Mesto has supposedly yet to be contacted (not that a contract would be a problem). Then there's Cicinho, and nobody knows what the hell is going on in Madrid right now. Mesto is likely on his way, but that doesn't mean Roma is done at least window-shopping. Some reports have him dubbed as the winger, but I believe he's the RB of the present and future. Esposito could well start if he arrives, but I really think there's a high-quality winger coming somehow. You know Luciano wants one real bad. But don't shoot me on this one, I'm just speculating and I honestly have no idea how Roma feels on this subject. I'm pretty sure the wing speculation this summer has taken a few year off my life already.
* - If you missed it Mesto is likely to arrive for €2.5m from Reggina any day now. I'd assume that's on a co-ownership, he seems way way more valuable than that, but I could be wrong if some parts are being shipped the other way.
"Depth-chart Winger": I'm not sure whether or not Edgar Alvarez will stay, he seems to have a few suitors, but Christian Wilhelmsson is almost definitely out (golf clap), because Nantes have been fielding offers that are 3x what Roma are looking to spend. Aleandro Rosi could fit in here, or possibly even Valerio Virga, but Roma are heavily right sided and would do well to at least have one naturally left-footed winger on the depth chart. I would personally put Mauro in this category if he is actually acquired, but Roma may platoon Taddei and Mauro until he can start channeling his 2004 self, should they not acquire a big name. I'll be the first to admit I have no idea what to expect out of Mauro is he shows up. He could come in and score 8-10 goals or he could be next year's version of Tavano. He has the skills, but so doesn't Francesco. Unfortunately, I'd lean more towards Tavano.
Prediction: At this point my intuition is Alvarez and one of Rosi/Virga will leave, my first guess would be Virga. Rosi has really improved over the last two years and he may very well challenge for a starting spot a lot sooner than people think. Esposito could land in Rome but he's going to have to prove himself before he forces his way into the lineup. The ideal situation? Roma lands Esposito on a cheap co-ownership deal as well as one of the 3 RW/RB candidates. Espo forces his way into the starting XI and the RW/RB drops down to RB for the majority of games. Like I said, ideal, but I think this is how Roma are hoping things pan out should they acquire Mauro.
Left Fullback: Essentially the only true left-sided player on the team now is Max Tonetto, which is clearly evident when watching them play, as he frequently covers the entire left side when Mancini starts drifting. Not that I have a problem with that, wingers who can cut in and shoot, not just cross, are hugely valuable. Francesco Modesto could fit in here, but a) his price is alarmingly high and b) from my viewings he uses his right foot A LOT. Like I've said, I'm not the foremost expert on Modesto, but it appears he's a centerback in a left-back's body (he's not very tall). The question as to whether Spalletti wants a back-up (meaning versatility behind many positions) or a platoon member with Tonetto (Modesto) is probably the deciding factor here. My gut says that they want someone who can play multiple positions, not the LB heir apparent because that spot is being held for Fabrizio Grillo (more below).
Depth-chart Central Defender: They might promote one of the kids here, but if, heaven forbid, one of Mexes or Juan goes down, Roma are in trouble. Ferrari can be a fabulous defender on his day, but can also be very inconsistent and it appears to me that sometimes his performance is dictated by the match-up. Here's where it gets confusing, I believe Roma are going after both a back-up left back and a fourth defender. Which is why the Jeremy Mathieu rumors have popped up. For teams like Roma, who don't have an endless bank account, a player with that type of versatility is hugely valuable and business savvy. Modesto would be a good backup along the line, so it's very possible he winds up in Rome if the drop in his price, as reported, is true.
Prediction: Mathieu and Modesto are the two main left-fullback/backup CB candidates right now, but Roma will be linked to others. Mathieu would probably walk to Rome for a contract but these French clubs have been fickle this summer. Modesto's pricetag is a being valued at either €2.5m, €5m or€6m at this point, so I have no clue. I'm not sure he's worth those latter two values. If Roma can drop Mathieu's pricetag under €5m, I say he comes, but that's questionable at this point. The reports regarding Modesto's price are so varied it's nearly impossible to predict. Gun to my head? Modesto, but I'd prefer Mathieu.
* - Just assume at this point Mesto is being looked upon to fill any emergency backup spots on the squad including slapping on a pair of gloves and taking over for Doni in the middle of a game if need be, as well as rubbing down cramps and giving Rosella mani-pedi's when he's not on the bench.
Forward Depth: Roma might go after a token old guy striker, but unless Stefano Okaka Chuka or Mirko Vucinic go out on loan, I think they may wait until August or so to see how the roster shakes out. Mirko needs as much playing time as possible, so Vincenzo Montella would likely request a move, he deserves more than being third-string. The problem is his contract is damn near immovable, so he may have to stick around or be loaned out again.
Prediction: Montella stays on for the time being as a back-up.
Backup Keeper: Gianluca Curci. He supposedly has refused going out on loan and wants to stay and fight for minutes with Doni. It's a respectable decision from the kid but probably not the right one. He needs playing time. Hopefully Roma will convince him that a loan is the right deal and there will be a loan swap either for Esposito or straight up, like Curci for Antonio Chimenti.
Prediction: Curci gets moved in the Esposito loan deal, albeit very reluctantly. Boo young goalkeeper refusing a loan move. Hooray responsibility!
Right Fullback: One of these years Christian Panucci's body is going to suddenly give out on Roma because of his age and, if they don't have a ready-made replacement, they'll be screwed. Marco Cassetti is a very good back-up but his offensive abilities as a defender are his forte, not his defensive prowess. As much as I like him, he simply can't mark world-class wingers adequately enough. I think a RB is on the back-burner at the moment, Roma might pursue a 3rd RB at some point a la Gilberto Martinez last year.
Prediction: The RW/RB acquisition provides the necessary depth and may take over the starting position by the end of the campaign if everything works out. I think Spalletti is looking at Mesto as the future at right back, but will play him on the wing if they either don't land Esposito or don't find it prudent to invest big cash on a winger right now.
Finances: It isn't completely outlandish to think that Roma could recoup about €5m or so from the sales of Shabani Nonda, Samuel Kuffour, Montella, or anyone else who might leave, as well as the €1.5m they will get from Torino for Gianluca Comotto. So the Chivu cash won't be the end all for money. Those sales could easily pay for a couple current targets - not that they necessarily will. Just food for thought.
As for the incomers, let's assume Mesto will cost €5m tops and Espo comes on a co-ownership/loan deal. That €5m still keeps Roma well under that original €20m cap for this year, not including the Chivu sale or Nonda, Kuffour, Montella, Brighi, etc. It is very possible they could add a Faubert, Mathieu or Modesto and keep the entire Chivu sale sum for the debts/contracts. So, for the financial naysayers, it's very very plausible. Is the management smart enough to do it? Doubtful.
* - Finally, remember this name: Fabrizio Grillo. He was loaned out to a Serie C1 side in January to get more experience, and, from the reports I read regarding his play (and a little bit of game highlights), he was phenomenal. He's been hailed in Italia as the second coming of Alessandro Nesta, as well as the future of Roma's backline. He's only 20, and defenders typically take a little longer to ripen, but he has been lauded for his maturity and decision making at the left-back position. I would not be surprised to see him given some early Coppa Italia time and subsequently force his way onto the roster, a la Daniele De Rossi and Aquilaninho. I'm not saying it will happen, but it is a possibility. He has special abilities for his age.
Oh, and he was poached from the Lazio youth system. Booya. The real life equivalent? Happy-ending massage.
The central midfield will sort itself out, there isn't exactly a dearth of options there, even though someone is likely headed out on loan (Ahmed Barusso, Ricardo Faty) or sale (Matteo Brighi). Again, this is AS Roma we're talking about, so they could do something utterly ridiculous and have half the fan base committed to an asylum. Or, they could do nothing at all. So it's just a little wrap-up of where the stand. If you're wondering why I wrote this, I took down an entire pot of Belgian Dark Chocolate Truffle roast in the 90 minutes before I began. I don't drink or smoke, but I'm the Lindsay Lohan of coffee/espresso beverages. I'd put Francesco Flachi's bug-eyed teeth-chattering to shame.