For some unknown reason Roma have put everything else on hold to take care of the Christian Chivu situation. That includes signing Juan, because they released a statement saying no accord had been agreed to as of yet. Rumors are Rudi Voller and Daniele Prade have been getting buddy-buddy over the last few days, but why nothing has resulted really baffles me. It's not as though Chivu is the only defender they will lose, they really need depth at the position after losing non-factors Gilberto Martinez and Rodrido Defendi (I would hope, if not I may be committed). I'm really not understanding the holdup unless Juan is seriously considering the Sevilla offer, but everything points to Roma as the ones who keep procrastinating.
As far as the Chivu negotiations go, there is some very good news. They told Inter that they want Pizarro's half plus 20m euros. Now that's the type of deal I've been looking for and would have no problem sending him to the lesser side of Milan for that kind of bank. I suppose that would value him at 24-26m which is a far cry from that Samuel, Pizarro + 5m piece of crap Inter had in mind. Barcelona have supposedly offered Sylvinho + 13m euros, but that's not going to get it done either. Though it's a much more respectable starting place than the crap Inter have been laying on the table. Which, in turn, made Inter think about tossing in that big chip Fabio Grosso. Come on. I love Fabio but he's nothing more than a minor chip. Either way, an auction is beginning and we can just sit back and watch as Roma sell him to the highest bidder. Though they make no bones about the fact that they want that bidder to reside in La Liga.
I'm starting to warm up to the idea of Edmilson coming back as someone who would be hugely valuable in a 3-2-3-2 system that will hopefully sometimes be employed. If they're to play that system they need a true DM next to De Rossi (and even though he is one of my favorite people I won't deny that some of his decision making has been questionable this year both for Roma and the Azzurri and he could be helped by a true defensive mid who sits back), not a Pizzaro character who would play further up if not for his athletic shortcomings and isn't a defensive stalwart. A guy like Edmilson, who can play defense also, would almost allow them to switch back to a full four back defense when needed, more of a 4-2-2-2 in certain situations. Yaya Toure would be ideal for this but those chances are slim. Edmilson + 18m would suit me nicely, though I'm not sure of his monetary value. He cost Barcelona 10m 3 years ago but I can't really comment on his value today so I'm pulling numbers out of my ass.
a) Guess how much those two goals versus Lithuania were worth to Samporia? Just guess.
(Pause for effect....)
EIGHT MILLION EUROS.
That's right, Fabio Quagliarella is now worth 24m euros according to Sampdoria, their half being worth 12m of course (trust me on this one). That sound in the background is Luciano Spalletti bawling into the bosom of Rosella Sensi. They probably could've actually dropped his price to about 12-14m before The Game sans players. Not now, time to make way for G14 and their big checkbooks. We hardly knew ye, Fab Quag's. Farewell.
* - Though papers still are reporting the two teams the hottest and heaviest after Fab Quag's are Roma and Juventus. Are Roma really ready to shell out that much bank for a guy they think can push them over the top? They did it with Gabriel Batistuta and won the Scudetto but it was a big reason they are in dire financial straits today. But moreover, is Fab Quag's that guy to push them over the top? He's good, no doubt, but is he a Batistuta character who can change the fortunes of a team? I don't know. Today I'd have to lean towards no. But Fab always seems to prove me wrong (thankfully).
b) Speaking of G14, in case some people don't know what it is, this should help. It's essentially a conglomerate of the biggest (richest) and best (and richest) clubs in Europe, whose main goal is the betterment of the beautiful game, or: the inevitable formation of a Superleague which would bring in beaucoup bucks. All Champions League, all the time. The members are: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, PSV, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Lyon, Marseille, PSG, Porto, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valenia, Juventus (they even allow in second division teams), AC Milan and Internazionale. For those scoring at home, yes, that's 18 clubs; but it originated as 14 so the name stuck. The president is Inara's beloved Jean-Michel Dickhead Aulas. Recently a few clubs have applied for admission: Chelsea, Celtic, Rangers, Red Star Belgrade and Galatasaray. I'm sure Abramovich will call up the dean Aulas and offer to donate a library some money to the cause to get his boys into the club. Funny, with the rich history of all those clubs, Chelsea would join with absolutely no history to their name other than the titles bought by Abramovich. Red Star Belgrade has at least won a Champions League title. Guess how big the smile on my face is right now. No really, guess.
Little chance of Roma joining, they can't afford the pledge dues. Though with Michel Platini becoming UEFA prez there's a chance they would try to join just to spite him. That and he's going to ruin European soccer. But honestly, G14 is looking to double its membership by the end of the year according to Aulas and Roma is easily one of the 36 biggest clubs in Europe. Most people talk about Chelsea and Roma as the two clubs most deserving of a place at the big table and it's hard to disagree (the club is in fricken Rome people, home of a former empire; how they have financial issues is way fucking beyond me, a Down Syndrome chimpanzee should be able to turn a profit in The Eternal City). So it really can't be ruled out.
c) Time to break out the bubbly! Antonio Di Natale is likely headed to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. Which means he won't be joining Roma (that's what $100K worth of schooling bought right there, that kind of deductive reasoning). The Lithuania game is evidence enough that he is not of "championship-calibre," and supposedly that's what Roma are looking these days. I hope Wolfsburg aren't looking to go up against Bayern, Di Natale is a homeless man's Luca Toni. Oh, it's a good day.
d) Still no news on Mirko Vucinic or Marco Cassetti, both of whom are at least partly owned by Lecce. This likely has to do with the Serie B season still having to play tomorrow. Lecce are in 9th and have no chance of moving up so both players will spend next year somewhere other than Lecce. Cassetti is on a co-ownership deal and it would likely only require short change to make his move permanent. He's a very good backup for the RB position and more than worthy of the million or so it will take to buy him out. Vucinic is another story. He didn't exactly light up the league but he spent most of his time playing out of position on the wing, I still think he would be amazing in a 3-2-3-2 formation. The other interesting point is that, according to Lecce director Guido Angelozzi, Vucinic turned down a move to Milan last summer because Mirko "had no doubts, he loves Roma." There's no question he wants to be in Rome, and that's exactly the mentality this team needs. He's one of the best young strikers in Serie A, can we not move a couple things around every now and again to play to his strengths? In 5 years Vucinic and Okaka Chuka could be one of the most lethal duos in Europe.
e) A little update on the Shabani Nonda situation. After spending last year on loan with Blackburn Rovers in the EPL, it looks like he'll be staying in the Prem with either the Rovers or Newcastle. David over at the Newcastle Offside has covered their angle of the saga well. The original loan deal was for 3m euros if the parties agreed, but hopefully Newcastle will be forced to put up more and spark a "bidding war" of Nonda-like proportions, meaning not very big. Either way, Nonda is gone and he's going to cover Mexes' contract next year. Works for me.
f) Roma have supposedly tabled a 4m euro offer for Juan Manuel Vargas of Catania, though I'm not sure of the validity of the report. The article also mentions Roma are one of three teams after him including Juventus and Liverpool. I'll try to find out more but if that's the sort of company going after him then I'm all for it.
g) Ahmed Barusso's (the Michael Essien clone) agent has revealed Roma were very interested but it's been a little while since they've heard from Roma. He hopes that his client's status will be known within two weeks of the end of Rimini's year, which concludes tomorrow. I'm really started getting worried that Chivugate is going to prevent Roma from signing any of the Grade A guys on their wishlists and they're going to be stuck with the Zenden's and Bellucchi's.
h) I was looking up some quotes from Zlatan for my weekly quote section the other day and I came across this little sentence I forgot to throw in:
Ibrahimovic wanted to play for the Bosnian national soccer team in 2001 but was rejected by the FA.
Why? They said he would only play on the B squad because he wasn't good enough for the A squad. Raise your hand if you can name a single player on the Bosnian national team. Me neither.* Anyway, quality scouting, Bosnia. How does an entire football association fuck that up?
* - What about Hasan Salihamsandwich who just signed for Juve? Does he still play for the BH national squad? Great, now I'm adding Bosnian websites. I need a translator who can cover all Eastern European languages just to get through my day.
This also needs mention. The goal is one of the best ever, but take a look at Rafael van der Vaart's face in the box. Priceless. He looks like someone just ran over his dog. Anybody else think he wanted to be big man on campus at Ajax and Zlatan ruined it for him?
I'll stop with the Zlatan stuff, I swear. It's a problem.
i) I mentioned a little trivia question last week asking who the top scorer for the World Cup champs. The answer was a tie between Luca Toni and the surprise of the WC, Marco Materazzi. I was perusing the team stat sheets yesterday, guess how many Marco scored this year. Ten. Double Adriano's total. I'm bracing for the apocalypse.
* Ruud van Nistelrooy is going up against Real Zaragoza, a very good team, tonight. The current standings are:
Totti: 26 goals
RvN: 23 goals