Now that Ivan Piris and Federico Balzaretti's respective signings have been made official, Roma has finally (hopefully) solidified their rotating door of fullbacks. Think about how many we've had so far in the 21st century, here's a partial list: Cicinho, Christian Panucci, Marco Motta, Marco Cassetti, Aleandro Rosi, Jose Angel, John Arne Riise, Paolo Castellini, Max Tonetto and even Rodrigo Taddei, Gabriel Heinze and Simone Perrotta have been pressed into service as fullbacks. Most of those guys played within the past six seasons alone, hardly the picture of stability.
So hopefully Piris and Balzaretti will bring some measure of stability to this position. Though Balzaretti's will turn 31 during the season, so don't be surprised if another young full back is brought aboard. That being said, Bravo to the BS boys for getting an Italian who is in his prime. The best part about the Balzaretti signing, other than the increase in ballerinas he'll bring to the Olimpico, is that we won't have to say "man, he's gonna be good in a few years".
On to the rumors of the day....
- Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is in demand, wanted by Malaga, which is whatever, and by Inter, which always leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth. Inter's blog, incidentally, has officially moved over to the SB Nation platform, found here. For my part, I hope Osvaldo sticks around, say what you will, he has a nose for goal. Despite Destro's price tag, he is still young and relatively unproven, so it might be a bit unwise to rely on him too heavily.
- Gabriel Heinze might be plying his trade at Bologna next term. While this woudn't be a huge loss, his versatility and experience alone is worth a roster spot. We still don't know how Burdisso will hold up or how much Piris will actually play in his first year, so Gabby is still a useful piece. He is also being connected to Olympiakos.
- Jose Angel is being tempted by a move to Benfica. I still think this kid has a lot of potential, but its readily apparent that ZZ doesn't think he can cut the mustard. On the plus side for Angel, I hear Lisbon is a lovely town.
- Maarten Stekelenburg rumors are still bubbling, with Tottenham Hotspur the latest club connected to the big dutchman. Though Stek's agent insists he is happy in Rome, Roma is being connected with Stefano Sorrentino, in addition to the usual Julio Cesar rumors. I'm still not sure I understand the rationale behind this rumor, some speculate that ZZ doesn't think Stek is up to snuff because of his dribbling skills and general discomfort with playing the ball far out of his box or playing off the line in general. Count me among those who think it would be foolish to let such a talented keeper who is just entering his prime walk away.
- Aleandro Rosi does not want to leave Roma at the moment, having refused a move to Parma. The powers that be hope this situation can be resolved by Saturday.
- We might be getting more Brazilian, as Roma have set their sights on a pair of Brazilian CBs, Saimon and Rhodolfo. Sao Paulo have placed a €10M price tag on Rhodolfo, which seems to be prohibitive at this point, causing Sabatini to look elsewhere: enter Saimon, the 21-year old CB from Gremio. Saimon is also being tracked by both Milan clubs and reportedly can play CB or FB.