Roma Signs Goal-Scoring Winger!:
No, not that one. Roma pseduo-kinda-sorta-definitely-maybe landed right winger Mauro Esposito (that's him to the left, holding hands with some dude), but it looks officially official. Officially. One of the very few offensive shining lights at Cagliari (read: Esposito & Suazo), Esposito is a right-winger with awesome pace and a very good scoring record for a winger. The Giallorossi reportedly gave up only €2m for half of Esposito (love co-ownerships, love em), which is a very very fair price for his level of talent. Cagliari's chief nutbag Massimo Cellini is hoping Mauro will have a stellar year so that his price can be driven up dramatically next summer when Roma comes-a-callin for the rest. Roma likely went for the co-ownership because a) they're cheap and b) it will protect them in case he doesn't recover from last year's injury woes (as well as keep a good relationship with Cellini so Roma can get first dibs on players like David Suazo - oops).
For those who don't know Esposito, he was Fab Quags before Fab Quags. With Cagliari in 04-05 he scored 16 goals from the wing (3 more than Fab last year) and had Serie A buzzing about his pace, goal-scoring ability and bull-like mentality cutting in from the wings. Unfortunately, since then he hasn't repeated the same record due mostly to injury (another big reason why I was originally skeptical of Fab Quag's at €16m - it's only one year - but I've since come around) and scored 6 goals the next year and only 1 in 18 games last season. He has a few Azzurri caps, including one in The Don Doni's debut, so he could be in line for more call-ups if he recovers form. Though I'm convinced The Don Doni's goal is to call up every single player in Serie A as well as a few sprinkled in Serie B. It can be the only explanation for many of his squads.
Roma beat out his hometown club Napoli for his services, and he made no bones about one of the biggest factors being Champions League football. Like Suazo, it has been said for many years he is too good for Cagliari, but recently he hasn't progressed enough to become a major player for one of the big clubs. Looks like Roma will now give him his chance, though where he fits in remains to play out. Esposito isn't the A-list player from the wings Spalletti has been coveting over the last two seasons, though if the chips fall right he can be. This also signals the departure of our buddy Christian Wilhelmsson.....
....which is mildly pleasant. Judging by the fact that Esposito was injured last season, had his form struggle as a result, and the fact that Spalletti outlined the need for at least two "championship" quality wingers (he wants two quality players for every position - on that budget? ha! Oh Luciano...) - I have a feeling Luciano isn't done here. As he said, "At the moment we are lacking wingers and we need 3 of them." Though I do like this signing a lot. Little risk, potentially huge reward (16 goals from the wing is just ridiculous any way you slice it).
Unfortunately the only videos I could find were of a couple penalties while he was with Udinese about 6 years back and one of his wedding, which was nice. Not too over the top, outdoor setting and casual dress. I enjoyed it. And yes, he can look a lot like Pippo at times. He'll need to score many many goals for me to forget about that. Many.
Roma has finally accepted €18m in compensation from Real Madrid, which is what they had been holding out for. The sticking point now is Chivu's demands, and everything is saying he wants at least €5m per annum which Real is balking at. How is the world can he, or his agents, possibly think he is worth that kind of money? At this point I can't wait to see his back as he rides out of town. (On the field, not so much)
That was nice of Inter to formally drop out of the race. More like, you didn't dump us. We dumped you! Stay classy, Moratti. Stay classy.
As far as the proposed lack of Cicinho in the deal, I can understand why even though I still believe Spalletti wants him. Real have just begun their mercato and are now in the midst of a controversial coaching change, they have no clue what their staff or roster will look like on the first matchday of next season. They have to wait to see if they get a Dani Alves or the like and to see if they still need Cicinho on the roster. More should be known when Madrid has begun to finish more of their roster.
Festivus For The Restivus:
I) It's a day late, but I'm sure the good majority of Roma fans have heard about the Graziano Pelle rumors. I am all in favor of Pelle, I've been a fan for awhile, but I don't see how he fits into the current Roma one striker system. He's a targetman, and though he has very good ball skills for a big man (but he's no Zlatan), he doesn't seem to have the versatility to play on the wing. He's physically and somewhat technically similar to Luca Toni (better ball skills and mobility - doesn't mean he'll score 31+), so imagine Tonigol playing out on the wing. Eww.
Roma currently has Mirko Vucinic and Stefano Okaka Chuka as young strikers who are likely to spend beaucoup time on the pine. I understand Okaka Chuka may be headed out on loan to Modena, Chievo, Reggina or another squad, and that Mirko could be used as Fab Quags/Rosinaldo bait (not happening), but still. Unless they can poach him on the cheap and then send him out on loan ASAP I don't understand why they make this move right now. They don't have a budget like Milan to buy up elite talent for whatever cost and loan them out for a few years. They need to squeeze as much out of that Sensi scrilla as they possiblely can. Unless Spalletti is thinking about switching up the formation every now and then.....
In that case, go get him.
II) As expected, Pietro Leonardi has begun his attempt at poaching names off of Luciano Spalletti's wishlist. First, Fab Quags. Second, Antonio Chimenti. Third, it looks like he's going to get Giandomenico Mesto. Now, he's after Francesco Modesto. Even though Mesto looks lost, Modesto is reportedly holding out for Roma and the full assault on Reggina should commence post-Chivugate (as I said before, the Chivu situation is really killing the mercato at this point). The deal will probably involve some sort of cash compensation as well as some form of Matteo Brighi. I'm assuming at this point we're talking co-ownership just because that's how Roma operates.
III) Fiorentina look to have eased off the pedal in the race for Franco Semioli, and are now focusing on a "big target" (heavily rumored to be Wesley Sneijder). That's nice. I'm done talking about Semioli until he makes a damn move, but could we puhlease get somebody with a left foot on this squad. Pretty please?
IV) Assume at this point any goalkeeper who has at one point put on the gloves for the Giallorossi and who also has a heartbeat will be linked to Roma this summer. Heartbeat optional.
* - The GHD debate will return tomorrow. I'm strugglin today.