So that Totti character is giving a diplomatic but none-too-subtle thumbs down to Roma's current transfer situation. When asked about the acquisitions of Juan, Ahmed Barusso and Mauro Esposito (I have no clue if it's a done deal or not - don't ask), he said basically, "that's nice, but where the hell is our Kaka?" Not really, but he said they are quality but will do little to vault them into the status of Milan, Inter and Manchester United, which is very true. Juan is a world-class player, no doubt, but he isn't elite like Canna or Nesta (for the record Chivu has done nothing to show me he is an elite defender or will be, I honestly think he could be one of the best holding midfielders in the world but that's kinda moot at this point). Barusso is a hugely talented player but his acquisition was with an eye to the future, not 2007. Unless Roma lands an Ederson, Rosinaldo or the like, he will go down as my favorite acquisition of the summer. That prospective defensive partnership of Daniele De Rossi and Barusso in 3 years has me drooling. It'll be like trying to make way through the pass of Thermopylae. Esposito isn't even on the team yet, but he's boom or bust. It'll take at least til November to evaluate him.
The funny part here is that Il Capitano is supposed to be a special consultant on transfers this summer. I guess by special consultant they actually meant "we'll give you a call if we need to ask you to defer part of your contract next year," because he obviously isn't looking for players like they just acquired. That aside, Totti deserves better than this. He has sacrificed so much to stay loyal to his hometown club even though they aren't building a superior squad around him. I'm in the camp that this team is being built for 08-09 and beyond, but if they don't add to next year's team with another world-class player they will have a difficult time in what could prove to be one of the most competitive campaigns in recent Serie A history. I'm banking on the improvement of De Rossi and Aquilaninho, and likely Philippe Mexes and Mirko Vucinic, but they could just use that little extra push to get them over the top.
For the record, I expect Mexes to be in that elite defender discussion within about 3 years. He has fantastic instincts and his tackling ability has improved dramatically over the last year. He was voted the great French hope of the year in 2000, so it's not as though it would be unexpected. I'd give Philippe a €4.5m contract in a second to keep him in Rome.
Now that everybody and their sister (that one's for you, Zizou) has declared Christian Chivu a former Roma player, he still remains on the roster. Seeing that a deal has been imminent since the beginning of time, when man was created by one divine God, whose name was Papa Smurf, let's look at this from another angle. What if the impossible was to happen? It has happened twice up north already this summer. From yesterday's comments:
By the way, unlikely thought here. What are the chances Roma doesn’t like any of the Chivu offers and simply says "fuck the cap" and hands him a substantial extension offer? That’s been lingering in the back of my head for awhile now. They have to break the cap soon anyway, likely within 6-12 months (De Rossi, Mancini). Nearly impossible, but I’ve seen stranger.
As for the contract, provided Roma gets a quality offer (haven’t seen a legit one yet), I am fully in the sell Chivu camp. I don’t imagine an extension could happen, but look at Trez and Zebina at Juve. Chivu asked for more money, Trez gave a big ole "fuck you" to the owners in front of millions. Which one would you pick to leave with a gun to your head? This is Italia, stranger has happened.
I'd give this about a 1% chance, but Chivu has stated all along that his desire is to remain in Rome. What if Franco gets off his death bed and tells Rosella to get a clue and break the cap before Roma becomes another feeder team? Because we all know he had no problem splashing the cash - which is why Roma is in this position now. They don't like the offers supposedly, and even though they've resigned to losing him, it's not impossible to think there could be a stunning reversal. There are plenty of precedents. (Before you pillorize me, it was just an interesting though - don't make too much of it)
Then there was this from Daniele Prade:
"While Barcelona do not pull out from the negotiations, we cannot consider Real Madrid."
Feel free to go bathe with a toaster now.
The Sunday Finest:
I) So, uh, who wants to go play for Glasgow Rangers now?
II) File Francesco Modesto under almost definitely kinda maybe shoulda coulda woulda will be a Roma player next season. The rumored deal is €2.25m plus a loan of Aleandro Rosi or Stefano Okaka Chuka - though it may be a co-ownership deal. It's becoming quite evident Rosi is out on either a loan or co-ownership deal, which is hard to argue considering there are currently 309 options on the right flank already on the squad. Okaka Chuka has been drawing significant interest from Reggina and Chievo on loan. I think he's one of the special players who can contribute immediately, but I won't argue against sending him on loan if he'll never play. That factors above all right now.
Modesto would be an understudy and possible platoon partner to Max Tonetto, who is rapidly approaching Torino's minimum age requirement (!). I would not be surprised to see him get some time as a backup CB or even RB on occasion. I was very skeptical when the pricetag was being reported at €6m, but this is a quality short-money purchase and gets my enthusiastic thumbs-up. Especially since recent French reports stated Jeremy Mathieu's pricetag has risen to €7m. I think he'd be worth it for a team with a sizable budget, which Roma is not.
And for the record, I love tall defensive mids who can defend and are very good passers, which Mathieu is, aside from being a defender. Somebody forward that to Prade and Spalletti.
III) Speaking of Chievo, wasn't Franco Semioli supposed to know where he would be playing next season last Monday? Awww fiddlesticks.
* - Our wordpress blogger extraordinaire program underlines misspelled words, which doesn't detract me from fucking up 2nd grade grammar. Aside from that, fiddlesticks is apparently an official word. As is nincompoop (imagine my surprise when I spelled that correctly the first time AND it was a legit word). Extraordinaire is not, however. Neither is Smurf, which I wholeheartedly resent seeing as how we evolved from those cute little blue creatures.
IV) It looks like Pietro Leonardi is succeeding in swooping in upon Roma's scouted targets. Reports state Giandomenico Mesto is likely headed to play in Udine. I really don't mind, I'm getting really tired of typing Giandomenico. The news, however, is that Udinese will be sending Marco Motta in the other direction on at least a year-long loan. I have been a Motta fan for a long time and for some reason I've always felt he'd wind up in Rome. I really don't know why, just a strange gut. Let's hope it's permanent and Roma can poach him off Reggina in a year or two.
* - Leonardi is reportedly sniffing around Modesto as well. I'd call him all sort of bad names but Roma has made a practice of poaching talent from under the noses of various clubs, especially the youth setups. He's still a nuck-futter though.
V) More Vincenzo Montella back to Sampdoria rumors. As it's been said, his contract will dictate the transaction. If either a) he renegotiates his salary or b) Roma agrees to pay part of the income, it could happen. The best part though was channel 4 reported Sampdoria's other option was to try and purchase Giuseppe Rossi from ManU. I'm sorry, how are those two even remotely related? Would you like to lease a 1987 BMW 525 or buy a 2008 Audi TT outright? Hmmmmmmmm.
VI) Indirectly Roma related: Lazio have reportedly signed Mourad Meghni from Bologna, which could end their attempts at Ederson. Various outlets surmised Lazio were trying to get one of the other as they both have very similar games, the difference being that one is really good, young and talented and the other is not (welcome to the world of Lazio bashing, Mourad). Another difference being Meghni cost about 1/10th what Ederson will net. Rumor has it Valencia FC is very enamored, but that the two biggest suitors were Lazio and Roma. Roma probably can't compete with Valencia financially, but they can offer a Rio-like feel in the dressing room. Advantage: Roma.
VII) Bordeaux resident looney Jean-Louis Triaud says that a deal regarding Julien Faubert could be announced tomorrow at the latest, and it looks like he's headed to West Ham. If he's standing by his absurd €15m pricetag, I bet this is how negotiations are going:
Auctioner: Our first item is a pair of panties confiscated from a prostitute.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
Auctioner: She had nine STDs.
Quagmire: Forty-five bucks.
Auctioner: And when we caught her she wet herself.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
VIII) Our resident superstud keeper prospect, Gianluca Curci, wants stability and some serious playing time from Parma next season. Finally, good call, my son. Good call.
IX) Massimo Cellini is reporting Mauro Esposito will sign with Roma tomorrow. Anybody ready for a public denial from Roma?
It's going to happen eventually. Don't fight it, just let it happen.
X) By the way, where the hell is Juventus in all this Chivu talk? Weren't they hot and heavy for him when he was still expected to sign an extension? They're throwing around silly cash right now and looking for some defensive help. I guess Claudio Ranieri's not a fan. Gabriel Milito's better anyway. But I'd still much rather send him to Juve than Inter.
* - The GHD continues tomorrow with the South bracket.