Breaking down the (tiny little) happenings of the January mercato window.
THERE IS NO PLURAL WITHOUT A SINGULAR BUT THERE IS STILL A PLURAL
The single best tag-team nickname combo to come out of Rome in the last several years, at least since Cassano & Totti (I Need A & Cold Shower), goes to Marquinho and Marquinhos, or Singular and Plural. Sadly, Singular has been a non-factor since Plural began his rise to superyoungtalentdom and thus the need to differentiate while both have been on the pitch has been minimal. Hos has remained simply because I still can't shake Ludacris from college, and 'I've got Marquinhos'/In different area codes' just doesn't cut it in my head. (Someone else deserves credit for the nicknames - they were in the comments. Come and get your cookies.)
Anyway, Singular shot down a move to Palermo and is thisclose to moving to Gremio on a 2m + 2m deal. The first installment for the loan, the latter if they feel like buying him outright. Whatever tickles his fancy.
And I would still like to know what the hell his actual role is - outside of shooting wide right and running...places. Which might be part of the problem under Zeman. (I still think that "running" bit and his ability to find crosses would've done well with some solid minutes. Though a Roman finding the end of a Balzaretti cross these days is like finding the Holy Grail.)
The interesting bit is that while Sabatini doesn't need to foster any more of a relationship with Palermo and Sir Fucknuts (Zampa), Marquinho could've been a chip for an eventual Ilicic deal...roughly three months ago. Because it's clear he fits somewhere into the type of midfield-type player Roma's seeking now or in the summer, what with the Dzagoev and Adryan rumors now, but one is simply much better (Muscovite) and the other's talent ceiling is simply much higher (Brazilian). Ilicic is clearly, if anything, a backup option to those they truly covet.
Loan to Bari.
[Pretend there's something written here of substance, then yawn and chuck him in the 'might make a contribution someday' pile. Nobody knows nothin' yet.]
Attempting to follow The Edwin van der Sar Career Path, Fulham is in the mix, while Milan is not.
The fact that Fulham is going after Maarten while Milan doesn't see him as an upgrade to their pupu platter of above average says more than quite a bit. In fact, he's nestled himself right in that 3rd tier of goalkeepers, it seems. Of course his agent is reporting Baldini has put the kibosh on any sort of move, but this is football and agents are as believable as UFO sightings and Moggi's innocence.
The problem here isn't whether or not it's Maarten or Mauro, but that it's neither. If Roma wants a Champions League-winning caliber team year-in, year-out, they need to either believe that Goicoechea is going to evolve far beyond his current ability or go after a top-tier keeper - one with the promise to evolve into one, at least, considering their affinity for seeking out talent. (And don't bring in that World Cup - international and club football, particularly in short-form tournaments, are incomparable.)
The Bane of Roma's existence is, once again, linked. Chievo have shot it down, and I'm shooting it down too, as mentioned above. It's time to seek out the keeper they want to stick between the wooden cylinders for the next several years and be done with it. Early prediction that they look to spend some cash on one in the summer. No guesses, but a double swoop for Dzagoev and Akinfeev would take care of my Christmases for the next decade.
Because the next thing this club needs is personnel stability. As expected, the revolving door at Trigoria has been spinning furiously the last 18 months. Now's the time to watch a core evolve as stable parts, which has been happening - Lamela, Florenzi, Marquinhos, Pjanic, Destro, and even Piris, could all be an incredible core - and keeper is an integral spot here. Go after a guy with the potential to be a Top 10, Top 5 keeper and render the topic closed for the next decade.
You know. Because I said so. And it'd be really damn nice to have a stable, heart-friendly keeper situation in Rome for the first time in who the hell knows how long.
This is odd. Either it's a typo, or something else is going on: Sabatini met with the agent of Mauro Icardi as he's not able to agree a renewal with Sampdoria. His contract expires in 2015. That's 2.5 years from now. I mean, he's a talent and all, but not so much that they need to move him now whilst his value is so high via potential.
Or maybe he's just a young, gifted Argentine attacker with an EU passport and Walter Sabatini is Walter Sabatini. How about that one? Yeah, we'll go with that one.
Start printing the shirts then.