Official. The Brazilian tradition in the Eternal City remains strong and proud with the addition of that Cicinho guy we've been hearing so much about lately. The official acquisition post here. Oh, and welcome to happily ever after.
Keep On Movin' On:
Now that RB is, well, stacked, with the addition of Cicinho, already on top of Christian Panucci, Marco Cassetti and Aleandro Rosi (if need be), it's time to look across the pitch. Now it's on to LB, where Max Tonetto has no friends to play with and he's starting to feel lonely. The Grand Imperial Poobah has maintained for the last month or so that his biggest remaining goal in the mercato is to obtain a vice-Tonetto, presumably because if Roma were a ship it would've keeled over starboard (right) by now. It's the understatement of the century to say Roma is primarily a right-flank based squad. So, now for a southpaw - maybe.
The largest question remaining is finances. Cicinho wasn't cheap by Roma's standards, even if Real Madrid will blow it all on Hot Pockets or something. Assuming Roma was starting at zero after the sale of some Romanian guy up North, then we can deduce they had €12m to use for both Cicinho and a LB. Roma's installments from Inter will come at 6m this year, €5m next year and 6m in the third year; while Wind Italia's deal calls for €6m this year. So, the €6m from Inter and 6m from Wind makes it €12m (seriously, just trust me here). Subtracting the €9m Rosella mailed to Ramon Calderon for the honor of taking a Real Madrid reject leaves Roma with €3m to work with at the least, from what we can tell.
Is that enough? Possibly. Whether Rosella is willing to dip into the future Inter funds is questionable, and there is always the possibility she may have had a little mad money left over from the original summer transfer budget. Then again, there's the ever present possibility nothing will happen in the next week. This is Rosella we're talking about here. The woman judges time by a sundial in the basement.
Francesco Modesto (Reggina): Reports have it said that negotiations are off, some have it that Inter is after him, and all have it that Massimo Moratti is an imbecile without his own scouting staff. The rumors will pop up again, but this has been so drawn out it's hard to believe the two clubs will want to budge much at this point. Especially now that Sven Goren "Holy shit, look at my Thai money used to corrupt a nation!" Eriksson is on the prowl, not to mention Massimo "Who does Roma want? I want who Roma wants! Goddamnit, give me who Roma wants...they're better than me" Moratti trying to do the mature thing and go after Modesto after his team was dominated in the Supercoppa. At this point, I wouldn't expect it.
Asier Del Horno (Valencia): ADH is like that girl in high school who was totally hot and totally smart who only dated the creme de la creme, but went through an anorexic phase and had to be shipped off to some special treament center in Austria to beat it. When she came back she was a little unsure of herself and definitely a totally different person. Her relationship with her boyfriend, star shortstop on the baseball team, faltered and they broke up. Her friends abandoned her and people pretty much left her alone. This was the one opportunity for that great kid who was smart and a little quiet but not the star athlete and very independent, someone who didn't identify well with the high school cliques - he was a bit too mature for that. Knowing he never had a chance in the past, he knew now was his time to "buy low, sell high" (I know I know - see you in hell), and watch that diamond polish itself in front of his eyes. He wins her over with his charm, and although it takes a little time, she turns back into that 10 she used to be, but this time without the eating disorder. Basically, she's the once in a lifetime babe that will be forever indebted to her new boyfriend for giving her a chance when she really needed someone. Yeah, that's Del Horno.
So, uh, he could be had on loan, supposedly, which is awesome; even more, his price is only being pegged at €6m, which is a drop in the bucket for his talent. If Roma can swing a loan + option to buy clause in the €7-8m range then it's time to break out the bubbly, this will be one hell of a mercato relative to the amount of funds available (not holding my breath).
* - I'm fully willing to admit when my "stories" are personal experiences or they're completely fabricated. This one is completely fabricated. The Cicinho Saga Teen Movie? Not so much. "Maria" is about as fake as the Holocaust. For future reference, I'd peg my real life scenario usage at about 33%. And anything involving coked out hookers, Bobo Vieri and transsexual rodeo clowns I played no part in. I swear. Alright, maybe Bobo and I hung out one night - but we were totally chill and just played video games. And snorted an 8 ball. But that's it, seriously. No hookers.
Pascal Chimbonda (Tottenham): He has about as much a chance of landing in Rome's lineup as I do. I'll give you a hint: probably not happening anytime soon.
Samir Nasri (Marseille): Goddamnit...
Emiliano Moretti (Valencia): God forbid Valencia ever comes in with an offer for The Grand Imperial Poobah to take over the reigns in Espana - he wants the whole damn roster. Moretti is one of the more likely unlikely candidates, if you catch my drift. It would take a cool €9m minimum to take him from Spain, and it's kind of unlikely Rosella is willing to spend €18m+ on two platooning fullbacks. Plus there's that whole Lazyo fan thing, which endears him to, uh, no one. Well, fascists. Bout it.
Giorgio Chielleni (Juventus): Not happening. Let me count the ways....
• Too expensive
• Not that good
• Juve to Roma? Please
• Not nearly adaptable to Spalletti's idea of a fullback
• Destined for central defense
• Did I mention not worth the expensive pricetag?
Stop wishing fervently.
Juan Manuel Vargas (Catania): His name may or may not pop up again, but he's my dark horse pick. Roma doesn't make many "offers". Typically it takes an act of God for them to even pick up the phone. Basically, Roma has the football management form of social anxiety disorder. But they made an offer for Vargas in June, a pseudo-big deal - it could happen again.
Jeremy Mathieu (Toulouse): Roma will have to wait for August 29th before Toulouse knows whether or not he is up for sale. You know, in case Toulouse walks into Anfield and picks up a win or something - good luck with that. Still much more likely as a free target next summer, or even in January if it's inevitable Toulouse will lose him regardless. Although word on la rue is that there may be an extension. Doubt it, but maybe. That taste of Champions League will probably be enough to get him on the next train out of town. Also, word on la rue is that people who use French in everyday English conversation are pretentious ninnies. Apologies.
* - Roma seems to have luck with defenders from the town of Toulouse. I hear that Mexes guy is pretty good.
Marco Cassetti/Christian Panucci/Aleandro Rosi (Roma): Then there's this. It is possible that Spalletti (or Rosella) will decide it's more prudent to use what he's got and make due, with all three filling in behind Tonetto at some point. It probably appeals most to Rosella because it's well within her price range, but it may also be the case if they decide as a unit that there isn't any great value on the market right now and hold out until January. Rosi or Cassetti may be sold/loaned, but if nobody comes in, I'd expect both to stick around. A very very real possibility.
Prediction? Probably the last one, but I'll go out on an optimistic limb and say Del Horno on loan.
* - Bruno Conti is laying claim to the last one. It's very possible, and he is right, the roster is much improved and very skilled, but I think at the very least they will be sniffing around for the next week or so. The roster is now "full" from a two deep perspective, how prudent would it be to say, "Hey, I want more! I want more!" and scare off the children? This isn't Inter we're talking about here. If the roster stays as is, I think Mathieu becomes extraordinarily likely in the spring.
The Newsie Shorts:
I) The Azzurri got humiliated by Hungary yesterday, but Alberto Aquilani reportedly performed extremely well. I'm starting to think he's just going to sneak his way into both the Roma and Azzurri XI's without much notice. Like he's just meandering his way down the street, sees a party in the backyard, pops in the fence door, grabs an iced beverage and just starts talking to people like he's been there all day. Except nobody notices for a couple hours until he's surrounded by all the hottest chicks at the party, then the guys start going, "Hey, wait a second, who is that guy? Where the hell did he come from?" By that time it's too late and he's the life of the party. King Alberto.
Oh, and would somebody please fire Roberto Donadoni already. I've been asking for this since the day he was hired. Clueless.
II) Antonio Cassano is still attached to Roma, and is saying, once again, that he never should have left.
Damnit Antonio, smarten up, thin up, straighten up, make amends and get your damn ass back here. That is if everyone forgives you. Why? Why did you have to fuck it all up? Why?
III) Our favorite lazy ass defender, Samuel Kuffour, should be headed to Sunderland within the next few days. Prediction: Roy Keane murders him with an ice pick by November.
IV) Ray Ray Dom Dom finally came to his senses and gave Philippe Mexes a start in the friendly against Slovakia yesterday and, guess what, they didn't concede a goal (1-0 Frenchies). So, in all the time that Philou has been playing for Les Bleus, when he is on the pitch the opponent has yet to score a goal. You would think that huge be a huge freaking lightbulb in Ray Ray's head, but no. Still an imbecile. Still clueless. And still with that whore of a wife with the big schnozaroo.
V) Legend in the Making, Mirko Vucinic, scored a penalty against Slovenia in a friendly, which goes a little further than sister-kissage. We'll say he made out with his toothless great-aunt. That works.