Apologies for the two day sojourn, but while we were awash in eggnog and tree shaped cookies, the Roma rumor mill churned out a few interesting tidbits. So let's take a somewhat delayed look at the latest names connected to Roma.
Somehow, someway, you knew these two would be connected again. Over the summer, Radja Nainggolan was nearly a weekly player in this section, seemingly always on the brink of a move to The City of Seven Hills. Well, 16 weeks later, here we are, back at it again. With word that the Belgian midfielder is keen on leaving Cagliari, Roma appear ready to (half) pounce for Nainggolan, reportedly offering €7.5m for 50% of his mohawk, and presumably at least one of his tattoo sleeves.
In the immediate sense, it's hard to see where he fits into this particular squad. Yes, he's an immediate and substantial upgrade over Michael Bradley, but would you start him over Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi or Miralem Pjanic? That's a definitive no in my book.
So, then, the question we have to ask is simple; is Nainggolan capable of accepting a lesser role at a larger club, knowing that regular minutes may not be immediately available?
For a club with Champions League aspirations, he's exactly the type of player you want, whether he's a starter or not. Nainggolan currently averages 3.2 shots per game, 1.3 key passes per game, 1.3 dribbles per game, 1.5 interceptions, 1.6 clearances and nearly 4 tackles per game. What those string of numbers tell us is this; Nainggolan is a complete midfielder in every sense of the word, flashing a strong combination of offensive and defensive skills.
So, while the rationale is clear, beyond the cost, it's more a matter of fitting him into the squad and his own willingness to delay gratification until Roma once again earns the right to play outside of Italy.
This one is a few days old, but, what the hey, let's keep the conversation moving. Alessio Cerci, he of nine goals and seven assists through sixteen matches, is eyeing a return to the city of his birth.
It is no secret that I would like to return to Roma one day, I’ve said that before. I feel as if I am ready to play in the Champions League. I’m mature, I think the time may have arrived for me to take a step up in quality.
When discussing the prospect of Cerci returning to Roma, the concerns, much as they are with Nainggolan, revolve around his willingness to accept a lesser role, at least while Roma is a Serie A-only competitor. As a pure offensive talent, one dependent upon having the ball at his feet, the concern with Cerci is a more pressing matter than it is with Nainggolan, who can contribute in a number of ways.
Cerci leads Torino in goals, assists, shots, key passes, dribbles, turnover, dispossessions, while being second in fouls drawn. While some of these are actually indicative that he is not, in fact, a one dimensional player, they point to one thing and one thing alone.In the Torino offense, Cerci sees A LOT of the ball. He carries it, he shoots it, he takes on defenders, he draws fouls and he gets dispossessed, consequences be damned.
He is, to borrow an antiquated phrase, the cock of the walk; no one stands in his way, when he wants the ball, he gets it , which would obviously not be the case in Roma. So, can Cerci go from being the first scoring option to the fourth or fifth? Would he even be as effective in such a deferential role?
These are important questions to ask, particularly with a side as cohesive as Roma. There is no denying Cerci's talent, however, and, provided he could adapt, he could be absolutely vicious in a part-time, instant offense-type role.
Former would be Porto starlet and current Hellas Verona forward, Juan Manuel Iturbe, is the latest South American wunderkind to curry the favor of Walter Sabatini. With the usual giants chasing after him, including a reported €16m offer from Liverpool, expect the competition to be fierce for young Iturbe who, the link suggests, will be a June move for Rudi's crew.
We'll keep the Argentine train rolling for one more link. While it seemed that he was all but Roma's, it now appears that Fiorentina are horning in on Roma's unspoken claim to Boca whiz kid Leandro Paredes. If the word around the campfire is true, that this kid is Lamela Prime, then this one could sting a bit.
This extremely brief story attempts to link Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason to Roma, Milan, and Lazio. I don't know much about him, but a quick search reveals that he's the Dutch league's top scorer with 17 goals and that he's Icelandic. I'll go out on a limb and say that would make him Roma's first player from the tiny North Atlantic island nation. No word on whether or not he enjoys the musical styles of Bjork or Sigur Ros, though.
This one? This one, I, uh, don't get....of course he's ready to discuss a Roma move, what Everton player wouldn't be? But at 30 years old, the Dutch defender would provide little beyond being a confidant for Strootman, unless he's the new Burdisso. In summation, yawn.
First there were two, then there was one, now there might be none. Rudi Garcia doesn't seem to have a ton of use for Marquinho, so, to the joy of many, Singular might soon find himself with a new address.
Until he puts pen to paper on his much deserved contract extension, don't expect these sort of stories to abate anytime soon. As we expected, and should probably be used to by now, anytime any good-to-great player in the world is even the slightest bit unsettled, whether real or imagined, PSG will be waiting in the wings. While this link is just one man's opinion, he intimates that Laurent Blanc is quite fond of Pjanic. Also making appearances in that link are Bradley-to-Fulham and Borriello-to-Spurs rumors.
Well, thats it for this rumor roundup. T-minus nine days until Juventus v. Roma.