Pietro Lo Monaco, Catania's sporting director, has been saying for quite some time now that when Juan Manuel Vargas gets sold, the preferred destination is Roma. Not really sure why, could be that he has a school-boyish crush on Mama Rosella, or could simply be that he's an intelligent, well-reasoned man and that he knows Roma is the best thing goin', and he wants the best for his soon to be ex-monster of a left back.
Yesterday JMV's agent joined the act, and specifically mentioned Roma when announcing to the world that Juan will be exiting stage Sicily this summer:
"Vargas is ready now to play for a big team," agent Carlos Alberto Delgado told Romanews.eu.
"He has spent two years at Catania and now he wants to test himself at a prestigious club like Roma. He will certainly leave Sicily in June.
“He doesn’t necessarily need to always be a starter because there aren’t first-choice players and reserves at big clubs – there are three or four players competing for a place and it’s not easy to be picked all the time.
“I can’t say that if I have had contact with Roma because I had to know Catania’s plans first. I don’t want to show a lack of respect to the Elefanti.”
That's as close to "come and get him" as you're gonna get without the real thing. The issue now is where Roma stands on the issue, with the easy money saying Spal and Bruno listened to this interview in Bruno's office and spent the next 20 minutes pouring ice cold buckets of water over each other. Then Mama Rosella came in, asked to join and they both looked at their watches, mumbled something in Spanish and walked out the door - right after slipping her a blank cheque with "Catania Calcio" right next to "Pay to the order of....".
Of course, it's not the easy. It's extremely difficult to gauge the summer mercato without any clue as to the status of ownership. Whether it's the Sensi's, Soros or some dude who franchised parking lot dentistry (he's British, I hear), the structure of the footballing minds will almost undoubtedly stay the same unless the ownership wants to seal their own death warrant. Bruno Conti will be there. Luciano Spalletti will be there. Daniele Prade will almost certainly be there. So, considering this is the trio who seemingly pant heavily at the sight of all things Vargas, I tend to think JMV will be there as well. The cash will be there for him either way. (I just talked myself from being clueless to purchasing Roma a Peruvian defender over the course of a paragraph. I'm not going to lie, it's a gift.)
I also venture to guess Lo Monaco and perhaps even JMV's agent know more is happening behind the scenes but haven't let on.
And if you don't want more defenders named Juan, you're bloody out your @#$%in' tree my friend. (Provided he comes with health insurance and all that.)
Speaking of ownership.....
A Hungarian Wants Roman Pie
It's almost embarrassing to google the name "George Soros" and think of him as linked to Roma in the capacity of a potential chairman. There are certainly some less-than-favorable persons in ownership boxes across Europe (just look across town), I just don't want Roma to be one of them.
And let's get this straight off the bat: a soon-to-be 79 year old man doesn't just up and decide to get involved with football when he should be getting involved with an estate lawyer and cardiologist instead.....unless there's a motivating factor aside from Roma at stake. There's a good chance AS Roma isn't the only Sensi holding Dr. Evil has putting a green sparkle into his eye.
At the very best Roma is an investment platform. At worst? A medium for sinister motives (start thinking politically). Then you start looking at the children, particularly the sons, of which he has five. Which one had a birthday recently? Too confusing to really wrap the mind around.
Aside from that, I haven't a clue. I'm not against an injection of new ownership and a bit more money. But the last thing I'm for is American, or American based, ownership, and one quick look as the commercialized, unidentifiable foreign gathering of football players that is the Premiership is more explanation than any words can do. The "English league" sold out; the last we want is for Roma to do the same.
There's a reason why I don't support Juventus or Inter or Milan, and those reasons are one in the same regarding why I don't want Soros or any other soulless money hound attempting to take control of the team. This club isn't about the money.
What I am for is getting Francesco Totti a scudetto before he retires. Quite frankly, it's all about him right now. He deserves it and whoever writes the checks should give him one going out.
But is Roma so far away right now? With the race this tight and Inter having benefited from so many egregious calls, will Roma still need 80m in transfer fees next summer to progress? And even if Soros does haul in the cash, does that guarantee success? Absolutely not. One look at Inter pre-Calciopoli is example enough. It seems to me the plan is mighty fine and the plan is working, and well before many expected. So honestly answer me that: Is Roma really that far away?
I don't see Roma needing a savior. I see this as people getting all excited about building a fantacalcio team and not much more. Roma - the entire club - has worked long and hard to get here, to knock on the doorstep and announce its arrival. Having a jackass in a suit swoop in and steal the glory when that door is open is mighty unfair. They're on their way. They need fine tuning, they don't need an overhaul.
Daniele De Rossi summed it up best for me:
“What the Sensi family has done for the club in these years has been unforgettable. I will sign my contract renewal with them.”
They may not be the richest family in the world, but I think people tend to forget what they have done for this club (this post gets more and more applicable by the day). If they do go out, it's on their shield. Then let's hope someone equally as capable is brought in to carry Roma to glory, someone equally as capable of carrying on the tradition of La Magica.
One last final thought. And I'm a little fuzzy on the exact details, but I recall an interview where Franco Sensi said he "hesitated" back in 1997 after being told to rid himself of a certain player. I think it fits. Here goes:
Back in 1997, when Francesco Totti was, in quite possibly the worst scouting assessment of all time, deemed "surplus to requirements" (or something equally fucking boneheaded) by Carlos Bianchi, nearly sold to Sampdoria. In fact, he was mere minutes away from wearing the Blucerchiati. Francesco had already been told he was off, and he's signed terms. The only thing which stopped the deal was Franco Sensi, who had second thoughts before picking up the phone - literally seconds away he's said - and decided against this deal. His hesitation gave us Il Capitano. I don't doubt for a second it had something to do with Totti being Roman; if only because Franco knows what that means, and he knows, even if Bianchi's tactical assessment was correct, a lesser Roman is still a god. And those you cannot buy, much less sell.
Franco Sensi gave us Francesco Totti. Would George Soros, or any other number crunching owner, have hesitated, effectively doing the same? Would it be worth the risk to find out? Is that even a real question?
And that's the difference for me, because I'd take Totti and one scudetto over "maybe" Totti - or Francesco replaced by anyone else - and a dozen scudetti eight days a week.
(Francesco's version from his book here, posted into an online forum, the only place I can find it.)
"Reports" say Soros will be making a bid by the end of the week. Until then......
(A pretty good article from il Romanista here. There is much to thank the Sensi family for, and there's nothing to say they can't take Roma to the next level.)
Fluffing the Fluffernutter
I) I found it downright comical anything was made out of Francesco repeated "vaffanculo" in the direction of the ref on Sunday. Knowing how decisive that play could have been in the scudetto race, I wouldn't have faulted him for throwing a Frazieresque left hook in Rizzoli's direction. Really, on how many occasions has the play been more decisive than the on-the-field play this year? How bad is that? As far as I'm concerned, Pierluigi Collina should have called Francesco to apologize to him (also for being a Lazie fan).
And Pietro Leonardi can shut his big fat mouth aaaaaaany time now. Thank Christ he doesn't work for a big team, or else we'd never hear the feckin' end of it. Imagine him in Uncle Fester's position....cripes.
II) Klaas Jan Huntelaar hearts all things Italian, particularly Rome, and he especially loves "scooters". Insert your own punchline here.
(Though who doesn't?)
III) Romanews prediction for tomorrow:
PROSSIMA GARA: Roma-Catania (mercoledì, ore 18.00)
INDISPONIBILI: Ferrari e Cassetti
DIFFIDATI: De Rossi, Mancini, Aquilani e Tonetto
IN DUBBIO: Juan e Aquilani
PROBABILE FORMAZIONE: Doni, Cicinho, Mexes, Panucci, Tonetto; Pizarro, De Rossi; Taddei, Giuly, Vucinic; Totti.
I'm wondering who will get risked and how. I respect Catania and all that, but the fact that they're in the semis hovers around the Riemann hypothesis, life and Rosella's tan on the "List of shit that can be explained". Time for a JV squad. And yes, Amantino is now in the JV squad - which I'm guessing is bad for his contract negotiations (if there are any).
Back: Cicinho is a probable, Spall will almost definitely sit OMR and Tonetto is pretty much a must with Marco "Underappreciated" Cassetti still nursing that shoulder.
Midfield: I'd like to see some Matteo Brighi action, which would allow for someone to sit...perhaps even Simone. DDR sure, DP probable (loves those small teams), and then Amantino on the left. On the right? I'll go bold and say Mauro Esposito to get on freakin' start in Giallorosso.
Totti: I don't see how, for the love of logic, he plays unless it's for form as a late-game substitute. Cagliari is fresh in everyone's mind; I don't think the Coppa - nice as it is - is the place to risk him again. Has to be Vuci. Or Claudio Della Penna. Or the milk man. Or Rosella's milk. I don't care who, just not Francesco.
Til the squad lists..........