Roma-Palermo preview here, now onto the bullshit.
Stay Away From Mancini, You Hear?:
Here's what we know:
i) Mancini has been left out of today's squad despite being on the bench against Inter.
ii) That contract extension, supposedly a "done deal", hasn't happened yet.
iii) Mancini's injury has been very very quiet, and was reportedly the flu in the beginning (although I could be very wrong if the diagnosis has changed or he picked up another injury).
iv) Jean-Michel Aulas is in Rome, and has reportedly tabled a 16m offer - that won't do it, but still, not good news.
v) JMA reportedly doesn't travel anywhere unless a deal is almost a sure thing, according to Inara over at the Lyon Offside (which is very believable if you know anything about JMA whatsoever).
vi) Roma is linked with Julio Baptista.
vii) Mirko Vucinic's flashes of brilliance on the left and TGIP's subsequent praise/nut-hugging.
A lot of stuff has been quite fishy regarding Mancini this summer. This is the fishiest. The biggest questions are how legitimate is all this interest and how bad are the contract negotiations? If they're really bad at all - see item IV in the news.
I don't see how Mancini is up for sale, and even more, I don't see how Lyon would be a front runner. I don't see how Lyon is more appealing than Real Madrid, Liverpool, Inter (alright - I can see that one) or any of the unnamed members of G14 who would be hot on his tail once he hit the open market - to either Rosella or Amantino. This sounds an awful lot like "I really really really want him despite - and because of - what he did to my beloved Anthony Reveillere, so I'll wait until all the big boys have finished their summer shopping and come in with a less than market value bid and hope unrule will force Roma to sell him to me. Hey, is that Totti guy for sale too?" Silly Frenchman, Amantinos are for big clubs. It won't take 3 months to play out, mercato ends Friday and we'll have our answer soon enough, but I'm pretty sure we already know the answer: Amantino stays.
Plus, I doubt Mancini would want to take a step down to a 14th place French club. (Sorry, had to do it)
* - If Rosella sells Mancini and doesn't bring in another player of similar class/talent (like Baptista), then we're changing this from AS Roma Offside to Incompetent Management FC Offside and I'll eat my words about how the management has improved. I love Mirko as much as - or more than - the next guy, but Roma needs a Mancini or the like right now. Not to mention the future, when tandem of a fully peaked Mirko and Amantino will be mouth-watering to say the least.
News, Notes & Utterly Absurd Rumors:
I) Despite BCizzle's (that's Bruno Conti) claims that the squad is "complete", The Grand Imperial Poobah has other ideas, saying "the market is open." So there. Vice-Tonetto here we come.
II) The aforementioned Julio Baptista rumors made absolutely no sense until this whole Mancini thing popped up. He's not a 3rd striker in a 1 striker system (he wouldn't take too kindly to that), nor would he enjoy filling in behind Simone Perrotta, who will play most of the games this year. Does he fit it on the left wing? Not really, but if Mancini goes, then Mirko becomes the starter and I suppose he and Giuly can rotate backup duties between LW and trequartista.
Still, no sense, even if he is massively talented.
* - The addition of Baptista without the sale of Mancini makes Roma instant scudetto contenders - as little sense as it makes. The key being there is not a single reason they should be dropping points against those lesser teams and we all know how well they perform against the big boys. Still, it's a fairy tale right now.
III) Watching the Juventus-Livorno game yesterday I noticed a few things:
• Vincenzo Iaquinta was handed an extremely questionable penalty in the second half of the game, as well as David "Hey, here's a big fuck you now give me my money. Oh...really? Thanks" Trezeguet having a goal that was clearly offside count. I missed those highly suspicious refereeing decisions. It's nice to have Juventus back.
• At this point in his career, Pavel Nedved is so good at going to ground without contact he makes it seem like there is actually a foul whenever he hits the floor. Yes, that was my Juve backhanded compliment of the day.
• Livorno sucks
IV) Matteo Ferrari's agent has said that Matteo's first objective is to stay in Rome and that there shouldn't be any problems with an extension. Also, that Roma had been involved in other negotiations, implying that's why extensions have been put on the back burner. So here's my take:
Roma asked both Ferrari and Mancini (or their agents) to come in for preliminary discussions in July to see where both stand in terms of wants and feasibility of a deal being concluded. If things were obviously too far apart then they would put either up for sale immediately, to preclude another Chivu/Cassano situation. If it was clear a deal could be worked out with little difficulty, as reports pegged for both players, then they would put the official contract details, hand shakes and complimentary ass slaps on hold until the mercato was over so Roma could focus on more difficult matters. As we all know multi-tasking is not in the vocabulary of Roma's management.
It makes sense, it happens often and it really looks that way. Sleep peacefully.
V) Guess whose door was opened up for a return to Roma? Marco Delvecchio. Super Marco has been training with the team for a little under a month (which I neglected to report - my bad) and Spalletti explicitly mentioned him yesterday during his press conference. For at least the first half of the season, just the perfect 3rd option in the hope that he plays as little as humanly possible. He'll be more than happy to wave the old flag from the stands and see out his career amongst the throngs of adoring fans. Hope it happens.
If Super Marco could somehow, someway, score a goal against Lazyo, it would make him the buy of the summer for purely sentimental reasons. I don't care what Cicinho or Juan do, Marco scoring a header then flying to Curva Sud to celebrate would make my year (yeah, I'm nostalgic).
* - Alright, I had skimmed it previously, then re-read it (I got all excited when I saw Marco's name and didn't finish it out) so it isn't all that likely. But I can dream....right?
* - That's the important stuff, I'll delve into the other stuff Monday. 'Til then, enjoy Roma kicking ass.