There are still ten more long days before Roma jumps back into the fray against Cagliari. So, while Miralem Pjanic is busy touring the malls of Middle America, let's take a quick look at some rumors and news (mostly rumors) as we head into the weekend.
Looking trimmer than we last saw and sporting a fresh new Number 9, Mattia Destro took part in a training match against the Primavera squad this afternoon. There's proof of life in this link, too. I don't really need to explain how important his return is; getting a healthy Destro back is as good a transfer as any team in Italy will have this winter.
In case you forgot what he actually did last year, have a gander.
This one has made the rounds already, but it appears that Roma is hot on the heels of Verona forward Juan Manuel Iturbe, the scorer of two goals thus far for Hellas. He's 20-years old and he's an Argentine. I think, according to the latest U.N. guidelines, that means he's obligated to play for Walter Sabatini. No word on whether this remains a rumor, or merely a delayed fact, but he won't come cheap, with his price expected to be north of €10m.
Again, this one has been around for a day or so, but if Roma can't secure the services of Genoa midfielder Juraj Kucka--who is off to a decent enough start this year for the Grifone--they will settle for Milan's Antonio Nocerino.
Take your pick, I guess. Either way, this would merely be a move for depth.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Dennis Aogo is the latest fullback to be connected to the perpetual opening at Trigoria. The 26-year old German National, currently plying his trade for Hamburg, has three assists through nine league appearances, while completing 86% of his passes and nearly two crosses per game. While he'd be a solid addition, this appears to be nothing more than a fabrication of the rumor mill, to which we are adding.
Mehdi Benatia pumps the brakes on everyone's someone stilted enthusiasm, claiming that the Scudetto isn't Roma's prime objective. I would say he's absolutely correct. In Roma's climb to greatness, getting back to Europe--be it through the Champions League or the Europa League--is step one. Benatia concludes by saying that, if anything else become possible, they'll certainly put up a fight. Good to see the players are keeping perspective...I knew I'd like this guy.
We all intrinsically knew it, but now FIFA Weekly (whatever that is) confirms it; Roma is for Romans, while Lazio stands for the outlying regions. There is a link to the full document there, which looks pretty robust and might actually be a good read. Nevertheless, FIFA said it....so, I'll call that an official confirmation. Discussion over.