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Totti Tuesday: The River

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At Chiesa, we are all Bren. And if Bren wants to do a winter wishlist thingy, then we, the editors, should by God follow his example. I’d even write a winter wishlist in June if I had to. So release the Dog & Pony Show, rub your face into a Nutella jar and bake some cupcakes. It’s time for some good ‘ol fashioned pre-silly season girl talk.

Christof Koepsel

After twelve rounds and during the international break, it’s the perfect moment to take a look at some possible additions or possible goodbyes. The latter preferably in short and sweet Ari Gold style (boy, can’t wait for the Entourage movie btw, get on with it boys!).

Faith

Nothing official yet, we’re only mid November I know, but there have been some strong reports about Paredes being the bag. This one has Sabatini written all over it, it has so much similarities with Lamela it’s ridiculous. Young creative Argentinian prodigy, superstar in the making, from a big traditional Argentinian club who joins Roma at the age of 19/20. Just replace River Plate with Boca Juniors and there you go. Flashback to 2011. Leandro will probably join us after the World Cup but he’s a wanted man so Roma better seal the deal fast. And apparently Sabatini is on a roll because also Iturbe from Hellas Verona (but owned by Porto) is on our radar. Yes,he’s young, Argentinian and a flashy player (AND also has a River Plate history). Why don’t we just ditch the AS and opt for River Roma? That way, Sabatini’s happy and Pallotta can even strike a deal with River Woods, River Cola, River Island or Bruce Springsteen. Think outside of the box people.
The rest: Abner seems destined to become our Dodo 2.0 while Kucka and Cabaye are being mentioned to enforce midfield (Read: shove Bradley and Marquinho back in the picking order. No not you Taddei, you can stay).

So far I have listed names thrown around by the media but how about my personal wishlist?
Well, one might say argue a team which is currently 1st and unbeaten, conceding a mere three goals in twelve games, doesn’t really need reinforcement. Never change a winning team mentality. But don’t let the numbers fool you, the last couple of games (Torino, Chievo, Sassuolo) have shown depth is a word Roma know nothing about. The eleven guys who basically started all ten opening games, are CL material. Take out two or three guys and they become a EL side at best. In a competition with 38 fixtures (40+ if you count Coppa), that is something to be worried about. So thank God someone introduced a silly season in Winter, to balance things out and address the weak points.
That said, I still have faith in the current team. The crop of 14-15 players Rudi called up before Udine are certainly up for the challenge but start gambling with Ljajic as centre forward or opting for Pjanic as a winger can be avoided with a good mercato. Last Summer Roma’s management proved they can indeed be shrewd and do some fine business but there’s room for improvement. Two or three additions are welcome.

Gotham City

Goalkeepers: We have Batman now. And Catwoman Catman as second choice. Gotham is safe until at least June.

Defence: Two additions. One for certain: leftback. Balzaretti has heart but his football IQ is not the highest out there. He’ll turn 32 soon and usually suffers against tricky and speedy wingers (see: Cerci). We need a younger body who is adapted to Serie A and has good feet. D’Ambrosio? Armero? Or Digne of PSG? He barely plays because of Maxwell. The other addition would be a CB in case Burdisso leaves and one of Romagnoli/Jedvaj are loaned out. Astori springs to my mind. Otherwise, I’m finding it hard to name one player who is quality, Serie A experienced, nearing his prime but doesn’t mind sitting on the bench until one of Benatia and Castan is injured or suspended.

Midfield: One addition should suffice. I’m thinking a Strootmanesque signing. Someone to clean up the mess, do the dirty work is an improvement over Bradley or Marquinho. Cabaye and Kucka don’t blow me away, they are an easy, cheap short term solution for example a six-month-loan. Pastore is a high-profile name but I fear he could get in Pjanic’ way too much. Nainggolan? Dembele or Sandro from Tottenham? Isla from Juve can also play midfield, as well as RB/LB. Nice fact: Dembele plays the 4-3-3 with the Belgium NT and can also play on the wing or striker (see: AZ) in case of emergency. I bet Rudi loves his versatility.

Attack: So isn’t it strange to ignore the attacking department while it has been Roma’s achilles heel during the whole of November? Yes but since all bodies are returning (Borriello, Gervinho, Destro, even Totti’s diagnostics are getting optimistic), wouldn’t it be a risk to buy a player who will eventually sit on the bench most of the time? When all are fit, Garcia will surely opt for Gerv-Totti-Florenzi with Borriello, Destro and Ljajic eager to prove themselves. At one moment, four of our attackers were injured simultaneously. That’s not a common thing so I hope it won’t happen again. In short: buying someone in this department would be a huge financial risk, better wait in Summer.

My three: Astori, Isla, Dembele. Astori and Isla cover the CB and fullback positions, Dembele slotting in anywhere in midfield or even attack. Juve might play hardball over Isla but it’s worth a shot.

As always, feel free to discuss this matter below in the comment section. Ciao!