This is one of those rumors that you look at and say immediately "no, it can't be". Then you realize the source has a url which ends in ".co.uk", which means it's a product of the British media, and is therefore probably complete shyte (I immediately throw anything out coming from that area unless it a) goes along with what I want to happen, or b) from the Times, which has shown me some love - and occasionally the Guardian, but only choice writers).
But then, when the name of team pops up, Manchester Citeh, you realize "hey, they've been willing to spend a tonjust to be considered among the big boys", so it becomes "well, maybe...". Anyway, I half believe this rumor, but the wording from nearly every publication has caused more confusion than anything else. The number seems to be the same, £16m, but it's the "plus Rolando Bianchi" which has caused the most confusion. So is it £16m (€21.5m) plus Bianchi? Or is Bianchi's value a part of that £16m valuation? Big difference, as far as I'm concerned. Although both deals which would require a good looking over (actually one would just be more of a "skim"). So here's the full text, you judge:
Sven Goran Eriksson has returned to Serie A with a £16million bid for Roma winger Amantino Mancini, according to the Italian club.
And unsettled striker Rolando Bianchi, bought last summer for £8.8m from Reggina, could also be included in the deal.
Eriksson, the former manager of Sampdoria and Lazio, has been promised money to spend at Manchester City in the January market to keep up their challenge for a Champions League place.
Roma rejected interest from Liverpool and Lyon last summer in the 27-year-old Brazilian international.
But he has failed to recapture his stunning form of last season, when he scored a wonder goal against the French side in the Champions League, and has not renewed a deal which expires in 2009.
If it's £16m PLUS Bianchi. Holy crap, where do I sign? That's like watching a drunken Victoria's Secret model get undressed in front of you and thinking "oh god she would totally regret this.....WHY CAN'T I GET MY GODDAMN ZIPPER DOWN". Seriously. Yes. Please.
I love Mancini. But his form hasn't been exactly making grown men cry and women fawn for his glory, and the contract thing doesn't help. For somebody so inconsistent, that's a helluva package, with probably what he's worth just in straight cash, as well as a studly young striker, a decently sized one to boot, and just what Roma is looking for.
If Bianchi is part of that £16m valuation, I'd say it depends on how much cash is coming back. If it's the price he was bought for last summer (£8.8m) - which I doubt it is, he hasn't exactly been earning that fee with a whole 4 goals in 17 games this year - we'd be talking roughly €10m plus Bianchi. Which, I suppose, is pretty damn good considering Mancini's form. But how good is it compared to what other teams, like Real Madrid for instance, would be willing to pay. Going by track record and that fact that they've had a neverending proverbial hard on for Mancini's stepovers since his childhood, Real would probably we willing to sign over co-ownership of the Bernabeu in return. If this is the case, I guess we'd be talking about €12-15m plus Bianchi.
Even though Sven-Goren Fucktard brought in tons of reinforcements over the summer, it's not like he asked his Thai dictator to pay wayabove market value for certain guys. Elano looks like a bargain, Bojinov was had for a under Fiorentina's supposed minimum, Petrov was probably around market value, Castillo just came in on loan, of all things, and Fernandes is supposed to be a complete farkin stud. Which makes me think we'd be looking at the second scenario, rather than a slightly misguided supermodel. (Then there's the possibility Bianchi would just be a loan, which is also reasonable thinking.)
Either way, considering the circumstances, and as long as the cash is decent, I think you do both deals if no one wants to top it. That cash could be reinvested for a guy like Tranquillo Barnetta or a LWB and you'd still have a young stud to throw in as a backup for either Totti or Vuci, depending on how the depth chart shakes up.
The other key here is the rumors that Spal is willing to switch up to a 3-5-2 with wingbacks next season, if not sooner, which would almost definitely spell doom for Mancini. Not because he can't play defense (he's not wonderful, but he was a RB at one point), but because I'm pretty sure that wingback on the left is going to have to have a pretty decent workrate getting back. And you can't defend with stepovers. (Though I'd be more than willing to see him try.) And, if they are looking to work in a 2 striker option, Spal's going to need more and he's going to need good, a couple of roles which Rolando can fill.
Minus Bianchi? I'll keep it simple: I don't think £16m sweetens the pot enough, unless Roma is determined to unload Amantino in January, which I don't think they are.
I like Bianchi. I actually like him a lot. Despite the relative strange spike at age 24, he was considered a superstud and it's not like it was totally unexpected. He's tall, can get into space, get his body parts on the ball, with some decent ground work and does know how to score some goals in Serie A. While he's not exactly an ideal person to put in the stands, at least from his angle, the guy would be a helluva backup if Mirko is phased over to the left-wing, and especially if we're looking at a two striker system one of these days.
Who knows what's going on in Manchester. I saw his debut and he seemed like a real consistent threat, and scored a whole 18 minutes in. (Then I realized I needed to take a shower for watching a Sven coached game and have ceased watching Citeh since.) He changes his mind every 12 seconds about where he wants to be. Including one of my favorite interviews of the season so far, somehow weaving Atletico Madrid and British cuisine. Genius:
"I hope to score at least 10 Premier League goals and I want to win a place in the Champions League," said Bianchi. "Then I'll pack my bags again and go in search of new adventures. I'd like to wear the shirt of Atletico Madrid and score 15 goals in the Primera Liga.
I have raised the white flag with English food. I don't like it. And I think I must be the only teetotal player in the Premier League. My team-mates were surprised when I refused a beer. They looked at me as if I were an alien."
You know what, screw Roma. I need Bianchi. Here, at the offside. We don't have somebody providing a smorgasbord of quotable quotations on any regular basis in Rome. I need some Bianchi.
The goals for Reggina:
The Grand Imperial Poohbah Speaks
“It shouldn’t be taken for granted that Mancini will leave,” the Tuscan boss maintained.
“I have never listened to the rumours that Mancini will leave. It’s much more likely that he will stay and that is our main hope.
“He is a great player and he is still improving. He has such promise and he could be so useful to any team.”
Well, that's a far cry from the "as long as I'm here, Mancini will never leave" we heard a month ago. Which now sounds a lot more like negotiation tactics and posturing than anything else.
I'd give this a Jessica Simpson on the feasibility scale and on the likehood. Can't really say how legitimate it is, but if so, all are offers Roma would seriously have to consider, no matter how much Spal would like to keep Amantino's inconsistencies.
* - More stuffs laterer.