Pop quiz, students:
Bojan or Erik?
Or: is that even a question? Though charts and graphs and this "science" nonsense they're always on about mean little, looking at things is list form is fun and appears like an informed opinion simply because someone can count in order. We've found a Roma-related list. Plus another, far more empirical.
4. Paper cuts deep enough to panic the ghost of Jacques Cousteau
The good people at Futebol Finance, a Portuguese site dedicated to things which requires no understanding of the Portuguese language to decipher provided you possess an IQ above π, bestowed upon us, the literate world, their list of the games top youngsters (under 22) and their respective valuations. Roma features...moderately.
16. Bojan Krkic, €13.5-18m
18. Erik Lamela, €13-20m
26. Miralem Pjanic, €10.5-16m
Three players but really two, because if Bojan suddenly becomes worth €40m in the next 15 months, I will personally birth a litter of sea lions. I don't even know if "litter" is the appropriate term - it clearly isn't - but it'll happen. Promise.
An excellent showing nevertheless. As many as Manchester United and more than Barcelona, though they've got that Messi fellow in consolation. He's alright.
(Oh, and it's completely meaningless.)
Rumor & Rumor & Simplicio's Agent
i. The next pre-pubescent South American on the list is Dodo, who's really twenty, but looks seven. No comment necessary.
So he's an 20 year old attacking leftback from outside the peninsula with Serie A experience hovering firmly at zilch. Or: they'll have #3 off the specials again.
This is Dodo in action. The bird looks the summer internship, not quite the business, but I'm skeptical on the signing, if only because I know for a fact Roma's "signed" 847 young fullbacks from Brazil in the last four years.
I'm not one that waves the flag of nationality very often, but at this rate, the squad's going to have DDR, Borini and a bunch of passports in a couple of years. Not cool, man. Not cool at all.
Champion the focus on the locally-derived youth setup all you'd like, but watch how quickly the promising children turn rubbish with calcio a league predicated on experience and tactical know-how. Players go on loan to relegation fighters because they have to, not because it's en vogue.