I've had enough of the ring-around-the-rosy let's throw out any names possible for the LB/RB positions of the last week. Half those players probably never received a phone call (I'm looking at you, Pascal Chimbonda and Anthony Reveillere), and most never got past an inquisitory discussion, nevermind reaching negotiations. So, in honor of every freakin name in Europe being thrown out there as a potential option for the defensive flanks, I'm going to start throwing out my own names. Why? Because I probably have as much journalistic credibility as much of the sporting media, which is none (now I'm looking at you, British media).
This isn't a wishlist or anything (mostly), but names who you may see or I think you should see in the near future, if not players who should be having the privilege of a Spalletti ass slap and a Totti tug of the hair in a celebratory goal pile some day. Although you may find a few scattered names from Eastern Europe and Russia, which doesn't have my name written all over it whatsoever.
Nelson (Benfica): Roma has yet to join in on the pillaging of the Portuguese League, but better late than never - right? He's young but he's versatile, he can play both sides as well as the wings, he's fast and he's just that damn good. He made ole whiskey nose nearly lose his mind in the Champions League last year with one phenomenal long range strike in the first game then set up two goals from the flanks in the second game. He's what you would call 'ideal,' at this point. 3-4 years ago he would've been at least a possibility, if unlikely. Now he's little more than a pipe dream, because he'll be netting Anderson/Nene type money from someone else someday soon, quite possibly that same ManU side he destroyed.
Dusan Basta (Red Star Belgrade): He's a similarly attack-minded wingback, but usually is primarily used on the right, as well as in the right of midfield. He's not Nelson talented or fast, but he is talented in his own right. Especially in overlapping and beating defenders to areas they simply should not be beat to. He's going to have a much lighter pricetag than Nelson, so while his name isn't probable, it's certainly plausible.
Philip Lahm (Bayern Munich): @#$% it. Why not?
Marco Motta (Udinese): You know I love this kid. More defensive than the previous two, he's still able to get down the flanks and stick in a good cross or two. There's that whole Pietro Leonardi factor, but this kid is awesome, and would be a huge addition to the squad for now and the future.
* - Probably the one player I want more than anyone else on this list - realistically at least. For some reason I've always just had a feeling that someday he winds up in Rome, and I really can't explain why. But I don't think anyone would complain.
Roman Shishkin (Spartak Moscow): He's small, he's quick but he's technically efficient and is considered a future mainstay in the Russian national team (a future 'power', you heard it here first). He is pretty versatile, similar to a lot of the defenders currently plying their trade in the RPL, but is thought to be ideal splitting out to the right. Has been playing in the NT since he was 17, which is no small accomplishment.
Eduardo Ratinho (Corinthians): This kid has actually been linked to Roma this summer, albeit very briefly and no more than a passing mention. Despite the fact that he's been struggling this season, he's still a massive talent and is only 19 years old, so there is much time for improvement. He's similar to Cicinho in that he's a great talent offensively and incredibly fast, but still leaves much to be desired on the defensive end and may be better suited eventually pushing further up the flank. But he still has time to hone his defensive skills, so all is not lost, nor close to it. Hey, that Cafu guy worked out alright.
Also, his name means "The Little Rat", which immediately sells him for me. And I'm guessin it's the Ratinho part, not the Eduardo part - but I've been wrong before.
Samir Nasri (Marseille): Aww hell.....
Vassili Berezoutski (CSKA Moscow): Finally a guy focused on the left, Vassilli is somewhat more well-rounded than the other alternatives, but can still get up and attack with the best of 'em. Probably less talented than most on this list, he's more solid and efficient than spectacular and dazzling. But hey, the end justifies the means.
I think those should do it for now. If I come across any more I'll put them up until Roma actually signs a fullback, which I don't anticipate to happen any time soon. And if you hadn't noticed, I like my wingsbacks a) young, b) fast and c) attack minded. Basically, "run your ass up to the box then run your ass back to defend your position."
Your Daily Cicinho Update:
In a word or two, shit just got complicated. il Romanista is reporting Roma finally has a competitor in the race to Cicinho, and one with very very deep pockets. Not necessarily Roman Abramovich type endless supplies of Russian mafia money, but more than Roma is willing to go up against for sure. This time it's Rafa Benitez and his merry band of Scousers interested in Cicinho, which isn't the first time. They were after him last year as well.
The good thing is ole Bronzy balls has said Cicnho wants Roma and only Roma, which is somewhat comforting (more of a "here let me hug you as a friend" comfort rather than the "hey, now that you're single would you like to get a motel room down by the train tracks where nobody can hear us and the ground shakes" comfort - but I'll take what I can get these days). However, this is before Rafa starts waving pound signs and those Champions League medals in front of Cici's face. So, it looks like Roma had better make sure they have some backup options, or are at least smoothing things over with Marco Cassetti.
In the end I do have faith Cicinho's close ties with Roma (namely BFF Doni and Julio Sergio, not to mention Mancini and Taddei) and the appeal of knowing he will be THE right back within a few years will help shepherd him towards the Olimpico. However, the price just changed. How much is the question, because Real is in no hurry to sell him off anyway and Roma will have to sufficiently acquiesce them financially to make this happen.
* - IR is reporting that Rafa is willing to toss €10m to Real and €3m per to Cicinho, which are both numbers Roma would have a hard time matching.
Other, Less Made Up Stuff:
I) Roma has officially landed Swiss playmaker Daniel Unal from Bellinzona, beefing up the already world renowned Roma youth setup. It's rumored to be a one year loan deal with an option to buy at the end, for a Primavera player. Which is like saying, "hey, I don't want the pants, but I want the button, can I put the button on layaway?" Honestly. How much was this kid going to cost? Certainly he's no Pato, and Roma wouldn't be mortgaging the future on him being the second coming of Andrea Pirlo. They couldn't pony up a quick mil, half mil, whatever just to buy this kid's rights full stop? Christ, it's a wonder Rosella can put food on the table.
II) About 3 hours after I wrote the above 'fabricated' rumors, one turned out to have some possible legs. French newspapers, and Inara, are linking Eduardo Ratinho and Roma in the same discussion, even implying they might be ready to purchase him. No clue how legitimate it is, and I tend to doubt he's really on their list as a youngster who hasn't really thrived over the past season. However, he's very similar to that Cicinho character and could be primed for a huge career, not to mention a minor discount from Real Madrid's asking price.
III) Roma and Inter will net 45% of the profits each from the Supercoppa game on the 19th. Money is always welcome around these parts. (Somebody tell me that 45% isn't enough to at least buy up Unal, or the entire Bellinzona roster)
IV) Finally, here's one of the names I've been waiting to pop up ever since this whole search for a LB began: Emiliano Moretti of Valencia. He was born and bred in Rome, which obviously gives him great appeal, but has spent the last 3 years in La Liga. As much as we'd all like to see more Romanista at the club, Valencia is asking €9m for him, which is probably well out of Roma's valuation and price range. With Asier Del Horno at much less than that, if not a loan, I'd have to bet the house on ADH showing up if Roma nets a Valencia LB. So yeah, start printing up those Moretti Kappa kits.
V) According to Anthony Reveilerre's agent, there was actually contact between he and Roma before Revs signed his contract extension in May. Which makes it look like The Grand Imperial Poobah watched Reveillere get embarrassed at the foot of Mancini and then immediately decided that he wanted him. Which makes not so much sense.
The agent also said there may have been contact between Lyon and Roma, but he hasn't heard of any yet. Which is code for, "the media is making @#$% up again."
VI) I need to go decide if I'm ever going to watch Roma again.
* - I didn't even read that article until after I posted. Now I want to throw up.
(And I sincerely apologize for linking to a site called northjersey.com)