First of all the breaking news coming from England that Roma thrown themselves in the middle of what seemed to be a done deal between Middlesbrough and Heerenveen for goalscoring phenomenon Afonso Alves. Honestly, I'm stunned. Absolutely stunned. This does not seem like a Roma move or an astute buy whatsoever - if these rumors are in fact true. However, in the short time I've been doing the offside gig, I've found much of the Dutch media to be highly credible when it comes to this sort of thing.
* - Also, the huge key is that Boro and Heerenveen haven't actually come to terms, as everyone seems to think. It's just Boro and Alves. Heerenveen has still yet to accept their offer, which is the side that really matters.
Boro have supposedly launched a bid of between ₤12-14m, which translates to roughly €16-18.5m. For a 26 year old guy who has proven absolutely nothing outside of Sweden or the Eredivisie, which isn't exactly known for its defensive prowess (and that's an understatement). I don't get it. Maybe Spal sees something in this guy. Or maybe, just maybe, this is that mercato move which The Grand Imperial Poobah feels can take this team over the top throughout the spring....
We all know the one thing this team lacks is finishing, finishing and more finishing. (And a true vice-Tonetto, but with Cassetti, that seems pretty alright at the moment.) Alves' one overwhelming skill is just that. He's not the poster child for the prototypical athlete like Kaka or Ronaldinho. He's just a pure goal scorer. Whether they come from the run of play, the spot, or free kicks. He finds the net.
07/08: 9gp, 11 goals
06/07: 31gp, 34 goals
(* - 7 of this year’s 11 came in one game.)
The funny part is I did a little write up on the main page yesterday about this very deal and kept thinking, "wow, for a guy who scores more than a goal a game in a league which isn't terrible, the fact that he's only being bought by feckin' Middlesbrough really says something". Well, enter Roma. And if I'm correct, Chelsea had some mild interest this summer. Who the hell knows.
So here's the thing: if he's a bust, he'd be one of the most expensive busts in Roman history. However, if he isn't, and this is the key, he becomes the final piece on a team which can run through any squad in Europe. If he starts scoring like he scores in the Eredivisie - hell, even if he halves his goal/game total we're still looking at a stellar total - then this becomes an unbelievable buy. Heerenveen may score an assload of goals, but they don't create the high quality chances against the same competition that Roma does week in, week out. Alves has never seen this type of service. Lord knows what that could do.
I guess if Roma is going to pip Boro it'll probably require between €18-20m. Or...or...a loan with an absolutely absurd buyout clause in the summer. Maybe €22-25m? Whatever it is it won't be cheap.
Personally, I don't know how I feel about this. I've heard nothing but bad things about Alves' personality/demeanor, and just last month he signed a deal with AZ Alkmaar without the consent of Heerenveen, which likely means he'll be owing AZ some sort of cash dollars. Heard he's incredibly selfish and his goals have gone to his head. How well do you think that'd go over with Francesco?
I dunno. I'm still pretty stunned. However, if he is in fact legit, then this becomes a no-brainer. He would be the missing piece. Though I have no idea where he'd play......but I assume if TGIP, Rosella & Co. are ready to splash that much scrilla, they know what they're doing and have a plan in mind. (I have an idea, but I'm not ready to say it out loud.)
And I think Josh summed it up best when he said (also, thanks for Josh for pointing out what I surely would've missed until the morning):
“Making that caliber of a purchase would certainly make a statement about our intentions THIS season.”
Without question this would be a purchase and a statement. We'll see what turns up.
(But I'd still prefer Mario Gomez.)
* - And we totally should've seen this coming. It's not a true mercato without some Roman drama.
All 34 goals.:
(We really need to do something about this Coldplay on highlight reels shit. Totally uncalled for. This ain't tennis.)
7 goals in one game.:
We know about Ahmed Barusso's 6 month loan to Galatasaray, and the gift that Ajax gave Roma for taking Samsam Kuffour of their hands. The two biggest names heading into the month, Amantino Amantino and Matteo Ferrari, haven't even been linked anywhere aside from Sven-Goran Fucktard's acute bout of transfer Tourette's a little while back. So that's at least some good news.
It appears today/tomorrow will finally usher in (or out) the deals for Marco Andreolli and Mauro Esposito. Quick breakdown.
Andreolli.: Brescia have excused themselves from the race despite selling half their roster to Napoli over the last week. That leaves Chievo and Genoa, and quite frankly, I'd prefer to see him in Chievo, under the assumption that he'd see more playing time there (read: any). Which obviously means the rumor is he's headed to Genoa. Obviously. (They never do what I want. Whatever.) Just as long as the kid sees some decent playing time and manages not to die again before le buste.
Espo.: Cagliari has reportedly sold his half to Napoli, which spells you know what. I don't understand his tenure one bit - after all, we had to sit through a shittastic 5 months of play from Christian Wilhelmsson on the right wing. There's no way in hell Espo could be any worse, right?
Watching Espo miss the goal in his 6 minute cameos was much more delightful than watching Chippen try to dribble past a defender, get stuffed and then throw his arms up in the air. Though the comedic value of watching Spal seethe on the sidelines while he put on his act may have redeemed him (nah).
Anyway, I don't know what to think of his time in Rome and I don't know what to think of this. It appears like he's gone, but one never knows with just less than a full 24 on the clock. Lord knows Rosella doesn't have "deadline" in her vocabulary.
* - The Alves thing threw me into a loop. I haven't heard anything else about other rumors so I'll get back on the grind in the morning.