While we all cross our fingers and pray for a Livorno sized miracle, we take a look at the news of the day, including a possible suspension for Mattia Destro, adolescent Australians, Mehdi Benatia's Bavarian future and the potential excommunication of two Serie A clubs.
If anything could blunt the euphoria of Mattia Destro's performance yesterday, surely a suspension would fit the bill, right?
We've been down this road before with Daniele De Rossi, but it appears as though Mattia Destro might fall prey to the watchful eyes of FIGC's Disciplinary Commission, who have requested a review of Destro's strike on Davide Astori.
While it remains to be seen if Destro will be subject to the same three match ban levied on DDR, with the World Cup approaching, a suspension wouldn't exactly be a boon to Destro's public relations campaign. Remember, De Rossi was temporarily dropped by Cesare Prandelli in the wake of his suspension. Granted, that was in a friendly, so it remains to be seen if Prandelli would tow such a hardline ahead of Brazil. Fortunately for Destro, he is perhaps the most in-form Italian striker at the moment, so this lapse of judgement shouldn't have a lasting effect on his Azzurri future.
In his defense, Destro claims:
There was contact and he put his arm out first. My eyes were closed, so I couldn’t even see where he was. In fact, I think he was booked for the reaction rather than the coming together with me. Besides, Astori is a friend.
Ah, his eyes were closed, that explains it.
While there isn't a suspension looming over his head, the future of Mehdi Benatia is a topic of conversation nonetheless. Benatia was always a well heralded player, but his performance this season has launched him into the next stratosphere, leading to speculation he may be sold this summer, with the usual suspects keeping tabs on his minutes.
In addition to PSG, Manchester United and Barcelona, German champions Bayern Munich are suddenly connected with Roma's 26-year-old Moroccan superstar. His agent attempted to quell this speculation, however:
The leaders at Roma are aware of the fact that other big clubs are interested in Mehdi...We’ll have a meeting with the club soon and we’ll see what happens from there. At the moment though, all I will say is that the lad feels very good in Rome.
That is really Roma's best bet; they have to hope that Benatia has bought into this Roman resurgence; that he sees the value in being part of something special, of getting in on the ground floor of Roma's grand plan, of being a cornerstone in club hell bent on European glory.
Our eyes and ears tell us this is the case, as Benatia has formed an elite partnership with Leandro Castan and seems beloved by players and coaches alike, but for Roma to ward off those suitors, one would imagine a lucrative contract extension would be in order....and you know how long those take to come to fruition in Roma.
Michel Bastos hasn't done much for Roma, other than scoring the club's 4,000th Serie A goal, but that hasn't stopped the media from speculating on a permanent stay for the Brazilian. Granted, €3.5m isn't a make or break price, but for someone perennially on the fringes of the squad, even with the support of the manager, might that money be better allocated elsewhere?
This link also tosses in a mention about Adem Ljajic, indicating that the club might let him walk for around €11m. You know my stance, he's far too talented to lose; Roma must simply find a way to get him consistent minutes.
Well, it looks as if Walter Sabatini has grown tired of South America, turning his attention, instead, on Oceania, towards 17-year-old midfielder Daniel De Silva. The adolescent Aussie's price tag is current $2.5 million; certainly not cheap for a teenager, but, if nothing else, it shows that Roma are casting a wide net to capture the next big thing.
So, is De Silva the next Harry Kewell?
This was a bit of an unexpected find, but it seems certain parties in the Serie A hierarchy are interested in returning to an 18-team competition, citing logistical concerns for clubs involved in European play as the raison d'etre. Supporters of this initiative, including Beppe Marrotta, also claim that 18 teams will ensure a higher quality of play throughout the league. In order to make such a drastic move, 14 out of 20 clubs would have to approve such a measure, as well as obtaining the FIGC's seal of approval, so a rumor it shall remain.
Monday was a relatively dull day on the newsfront, so, instead, let's focus on the Livorno-Juventus match, which is moments away from kick off.