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Let's Talk About Relegation

24520_hp.jpgNot Roma's, stop crying. I'm talking about the potential clubs going down. I always find it nice to start circling in the waters, searching for blood at the expense of others' misfortunes. Last summer our fair Giallorossi made a big splash in the wake of Messina's relegation by taking back Edgar "Burritos" Alvarez from loan and we can only hope they strike an equally epic market blow this year.

Not every decent player from these teams will be sold, and some of the more desirable pieces, the young prospects, will probably stick it out with their teams and even benefit from staying with the team in Serie B. (Guys like Marco Rossi and Dominique Malongo.) But the veterans who are surely deserving of a spot in Serie A will be sold, and that's when Roma starts looking. Plus some of the budding superstars who would be wasting time in Serie B. Given this year's contenders are much better than the likes of Messina, Chievo and Ascoli - most of them, anyway - we might actually see some significant post-relegation action.

So I'll take a look at each relegation contender and start plucking away at their roster like Massimo Moratti plucks away at the Argie national team. Half fantacalcio, half "who loves bargains?". And regardless of ownership, each of these players are potential targets. Let the dreaming begin.

(I'm going to go mildly bonkers for someone here, might be a bit of a surprise.)

20. Livorno 30 (-22)

Remaining Sched: @ Atalanta, Torino, @ Empoli

Probability of Relegation: Judging by how inept Roma looks against them in the final third? They should be in contention for Europe. Two legitimate six pointers and a game against Atalanta? Chances are they go down, only because the teams above them are just a notch higher.

Marco Amelia: I'm waiting for the other shoe. That's all. He's clearly too good for Livorno, but why hasn't anybody snapped him up in the last year or two? He prostitutes himself weekly and has made it clear he wants the fuck out of Livorno. Really makes you wonder.

Other than that? I'd take him in a heart beat over Doni. Unfortunately, Doni's on a reasonable contract and he has saved Roma at times this year, though condemning them just as frequently, which makes it seem unlikely Roma will attempt to spend the cash to upgrade the position when there are a few other spots higher up on the To Do list. Plus there's Gianluca Curci, and who the hell knows what he's going to turn out to be. As much as we'd love to see another Roman in the starting XI, it ain't happenin'.

And basically, this is where it ends with me for Livorno. If they could chop off Alessandro Diamanti's left foot and transplant it on Adrian Pit or something I'd jump at the chance, but from everything I hear, he wouldn't fit under Spal. Hell, I don't even want Alvarez back.

Sounds about right for the 20th team in Serie A, eh? (No offense, Marco.)

19. Parma 31 (-22)

Remaining Sched: Genoa, @ Viola, Inter

Probability of Relegation:
Take one look at the schedule. They're getting relegated. Hugely unfortunate, too.

Luca Cigarini:
The heir to Andrea Pirlo's throne is like 99.99999999999% to Juventus. Bastards. He'd be quite the addition, though.

Cristiano Lucarelli:
His name was bantered about for some time back in January before he signed with Parma, and it looks like his stay with the Gialloblu will be just as short as his one in Donetsk. Here's a thought. The guy obviously isn't an ideal first striker for Roma in Totti's absence. But he could be a decent backup to Mirko or whomever is brought in to play striker, whether it be a replacement or that big name striker we're waiting for. Even on a one year loan. Not likely, but it's a thought.

Andrea Gasbarroni:
I like Gasbarroni's skill set a lot. Is he quite Roma material? I dunno. I think he might be one of the guys who throws on his Superman cape anytime he knows I'm watching the game. The king of this club is Antonio Chimenti, who plays like Gigi Buffon's second cousin whenever I'm viewing.

Daniele Dessena:
This kid is God's gift to calcio. Seriously. I'd give my first born for his signature in giallorosso. 20m? 30m? 40m? Pay it. I don't care. This kid is going to be one of the greats. We're talking about one of the best midfields ever along with Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani five years from now.

Think Aquilani. Think De Rossi. Size, speed, skills, technique, maturity....he's close to the perfect athlete. The very definition of a complete midfielder and, at 20, still with a lot of room to grow. The type of player, along with the Roman legends, you build your team around, not work into your team. A good coach can make him great. Luciano Spalletti could turn him into a legend.

I have a list for the summer. Forget Mario Gomez, he's got the top spot. Actually, he's probably got the next spot for the next five years, or at least until Roma buys him.

* - If Soros came along, bought Roma and announced the next day Daniele Dessena has been transferred and signed a 12 year contract, I'd probably write daily love sonnets to Georgy here every day for the life of the contract. That's how good he's going to be.

18. Reggina 33 (-22)

Remaining Sched:
@ Catania, Empoli, @ Cagliari

Probability of Relegation: Talk about a gift of a final schedule. I think they stay up. If they don't? Then they damn well deserve to go down.

At the moment my favorites to go down are Livorno, Parma and Empoli. A far cry from earlier in the year when it looked like Cagliari, Reggina and Catania might make the tumble, leaving next year's Serie A even more north-heavy than it already is, leaving basically Roma, Napoli and Palermo.

Francesco Modesto: Duh. Though his rumors have gone mighty quiet. Seems like Juan Manuel Vargas is the left back du jour. We shall see, but if Reggina goes down, would anyone be shocked? Didn't think so.

And that's about it.

17. Empoli 33 (-21)

Remaining Sched: Udinese, @ Reggina, Livorno

Probability of Relegation: I'd say medium to medium well. I think they lose to Udinese and Reggina, making it a do or die last game where they draw with Livorno. (If you bet on that, don't come griping to me when it fails miserably.)

Andrea Raggi: I dunno. He's a talent, no doubt, but not quite ready for a Roman leap.

Considering half their team is on loan from Juventus, Milan or Inter - those players basically being "the good ones" - it's pretty thin pick'ins. I pick none.

16. Torino 34 (-14)

Remaining Sched: Napoli, @ Livorno, Fiorentina

Probability of Relegation:
Uh...uh...uh....I don't want to think about it. (If all is good and right with the world, they stay up. I don't have faith anything in the world is good or right, therefore I don't have good vibes.)

Alessandro Rosina:
It's likely he's going up for sale anyway. Watch for monkeys throwing chairs, clown cars driven by giraffes and Massimo Moratti saying something very unintelligent when he does.

Listen, once in a lifetime. How much would you pay for a 24 year old Zola if you knew then what you know now? Start there. Roma absolutely HAS to make a serious effort to break the bank for him this summer.

1. Novellino deserved to be canned simply for failing to get the best out of Rosinaldo this season.
2. I need to change my pants.

Marco Motta: Who wants the Azzurri's future RB? I'm 99% sure he's just on loan from Udinese, so I'm not sure how feasible a sale would be. But for some odd reason, I've always felt he'd wind up in Rome one day. Don't ask why, just be thankful the day he does.

David Di Michele: He was thisclose in January, but the boy may finally come home in the summer, whether or not Torino goes down. And I'll admit, the guy has looked pretty good this year, but he still cannot finish. I don't think Roma needs any more issues in that department.

Matteo Ruben: He was The Shit (that was an official designation) until his knee went out. Even Real Madrid was sniffing around. One day, maybe. Not yet.

Masashi Oguro: Just for his wikipedia entry:

Oguro owns a chihuahua named Rao. He is a fan of the manga Fist of the North Star. He is a fan of the Hanshin Tigers. He loves the card game Uno, and has been appointed a "Uno Ambassador". When he is excited and wants to get attention on the field, he yells "UNO!".


15. Cagliari 35 (-19)

Remaining Sched: Fiorentina, @ Udinese, Reggina

Probability of Relegation: They stay up. They've lost twice in the last six weeks, both times in Milan. They'll get points....somehow.

Bobby Freshwater:
Personally I'd love this kid on the Roma books, headed out on loan for a year or two. But one, he's co-owned by Inter and two, he's co-owned by Inter.

Michele Canini:
So it looks as though Milan is sniffing around the guy, perhaps even making offers. Well guess what? On July 1st of last year, Cellino said Roma had asked about Canini and he replied that he is not for sale, but if he does go up for sale he will sell to Roma.

Does the guy pull the promise off the table after a year? Doubtful, the Sensi fam and Cellino, crazy as he may be, seemingly have a good working relationship. And if you recall, Canini looked damn fine when Roma went to Sardinia and Matteo Ferrari messed himself. I can't imagine Spal being any less impressed.

The kid is clearly ready for Serie A - but is he ready for big time Serie A? Remains to be seen. Surely a name to keep a lookout for over the next month, though. Could be staring at a new CB.

And that's about it from the epic overachievers. Except fucking Storari, who could displace Buffon for the nazionale with the performance he put up against Roma. Asshole.

14. Catania 35 (-11)

Remaining Sched:
Reggina, @ Juventus, Roma

Probability of Relegation:
If they get 3 against Reggina, they should be in good shape just because six teams are behind them, but if not.....

Juan Manuel Vargas:
He's coming, even if Roma has to take Gionatha Spinesi along for the ride.

Jorge Martinez: In the 2 games against Catania thus far, has anyone been impressed? I certainly haven't. Then again, to impress as a striker for Catania you'd probably have to ber Jesus Christ of Rome (Francesco, duh). But he's also been linked to Arsenal, and you know how it goes: If he's good enough for Arsene, he's good enough for me.

And if the interest has sustained, Catania's status may not matter.

I'm sure I missed some. Anyone else?