Going All Portuguese On Us:
In record breaking time, Rosella has actually taken less than 7 months to complete transfer negotiations, and it didn't even take the impending deadline at like 11p on August 31st do it. This translates direct to: start stocking the basement with canned goods, bottled water and radioactive-proof Trojans. Apocalypse impending. Let's introduce the newest Portuguese speaking player to the Olimpico locker room (seriously, Roma is becoming the Liverpool of Serie A, only with Portuguese).
Real Name: Vitorino Gabriel Pacheco Antunes
Fake Name: Antunes
Place of Birth: Freamunde
Height: 1.76 m
Senior Caps: 1 (0)
U-21 Caps: Quite a few (not a clue)
It's a very cheap loan deal, with an option to buy by April of 2008. Roma pays €300,000 right now, and can then buy him back for €1.2m, making the total purchase price €1.5m (for those who failed first grade math). For a kid garnering interest from half of European footy, that's pretty decent, and will easily be made up by the sale of Shabani Nonda, Edgar Alvarez, Samuel Kuffour or any other cast of characters TGIP deems "surplus to requirements" (I've decided I'm going to just start telling people I don't like they're "surplus to requirements" and see how they react). Being so young and supposedly so promising, I completely expect Roma will pick up that option and move him unless he starts defending like Paris Hilton's chastity belt. Even if he doesn't earn a regular rotational spot, he could easily be loaned out for more experience to a team than can absorb some suckitude. Defenders typically take a little longer to ripen, anyway.
Honestly, he sounds just like every other European fullwingback thrown into the mercato hype machine: good attacker, excellent defender, pacy, good crosser and a stellar left foot (as evidenced by this, and a half a goal for the guy taking the responsibility of throwing a Orlando Pace-like block on the entire Mexican wall). There really isn't much on him other than that, but I'm sure more and more will begin to leak once he starts training with the fellas. No matter what, he sounds talented, and being thisclose to a move to Juventus is usually a good sign (scumbags, but scumbags with enough money that they can afford much more than €1.5m, so this kid must be pretty good-ish).
Place On The Squad:
The moniker "vice-Tonetto" is fairly misleading, as he'll probably be the first in line behind old Max in only a percentage of the games. He's still young, and isn't coming from one of the big leagues or anything. Actually, he's coming from what appears to be a relatively small club in a league that produces basically three good teams on a yearly basis. The thought here is this: He'll be worked into the squad to begin with, and probably only see minor, inconsequential time for the first month or two; after that point Spalletti will determine how well he has adapted, but will probably only see time against mid-lower table sides and very little, if any, Champions League time. It's probably safe to say the first half of the season will be more of an evaluation period than anything, and if Max goes down with an injury for an extended period of time or for a big game, we'll see Chritian Panucci, Marco Cassetti or even Cicinho filling in at LB.
I, for one, like this move from the vantage point of having a talented body. I think it's safe to say Max going down is one of the most difficult positions to fill on the squad behind Il Capitano, Doni and Daniele De Rossi (I hesitate to put Simone Perrotta in this list because Ludovic Giuly has been a very good backup thus far - despite the sensational impact of Simone when on the pitch). Only time will tell how much impact this kid has, though. I'd expect him to be decent against some relegation contenders to begin with, and aside from that anything else is gravy, with the expected progression of any player. Anyway, having a left-sided body at the very least will be huge and good to give Max a few breathers every now and again. For the money, A- from me.
Knowing full well that extension talks with Mancini are close, it was also reported yesterday by sky italia that Mancini has re-upped to 2012, which coincided with the arrival of Gilmer Veloz, his agent. There is still yet to be official word emanating from the Roma camp, but with all this talk from Lyon (and now West Ham - seriously, West Ham?) it may have put Rosella's ass in gear and whisked Amantino into her office to tie things up once and for all. Did the contract actually get signed? I'd doubt it, but the probability is quite high that it has been agreed to and is only awaiting the official stroke of the pen. We shall see, but I don't think this will take too long to play out. I'd expect a deal signed, sealed, delivered (oh yeah) soon.
* - I'm supposed to be traveling/out of the country for much of the next week and when I'm back I have a very ill family member so I won't be around much. I may get something out before/after the Siena game but I can't promise anything. Enjoy the game, draw and end of the mercato. If Roma picks up Lionel Messi at 11:59 tomorrow night be assured I'll be here in spirit, and you can just imagine what I'd be writing.