A little under one month remains in the mercato, and it would appear the heavy bulk of the lifting has been done. That heavy lifting would mostly be trucking all that cash to Udine for Mehdi Benatia, tossing in a little child slave trade in the form of Nico Lopez and Valerio Verre, before taking the remainder Eindhoven for the services of one Kevin Strootman. The filler has been taken care of. They've got Maicon. They picked Morginho De Sanctis, a keeper who is only Italian in passport. Gervinho is here. Or there. Or somewhere. And damnit, he's got his name on his clothing to let you know. The squad is bustling. Now they have to sell to buy - not necessarily in terms of finances, if likely, but in sheer volume. The bodies are overflowing.
With less than one month remaining, a quick breakdown of the roster, depth chart, what have you.
Bodies: Morgan De Sanctis, Bogdan Lobont, Lukasz Skorupski, Julio Sergio, Svedkauskas
We joke about Bogdan, but those five keepers could collectively combine to make one pretty good keeper. Individually? Eh. Though Morgan is clearly the starter til he's not, any one of those five could potentially win the spot by year's end. No one is a standout, though if Rudi gets these guys clicking on the scoresheet, toss in Lobont and call it a season. Actually, the man will let in one a match, so average scoring two-point-five and call it a scudetto. Free Bogdan.
There will be no more movement here unless Svedkauskas is shuffled off on loan or they finally contract someone to take out JSB.
Bodies: Maicon, Vasilis Torosidis, Alessandro Crescenzi
Bald, balding, mane bestowed from the heavens. How did it work out like this? Nevertheless, it would seem this will be The Unofficial Hair Club for Men with Crescenzi heading out for playing time and angels running their fingers through his blond locks of unicorn hair. At least there will be one more season to determine the quality of one's stream by whether or not you can see Torosidis' bald spot.
Maicon will start; by November, Rudi will rub the dirt off the dash to read the odometer on Maicon, place his eyes back in his head and insert Toro.
Bodies: Mehdi Benatia, Leandro Castan, Nico Burdisso, Timmy Yedvaj, Alessio Romagnoli
A curious selection, these cats. Obviously Mehdi is 1a and Castan 1b, but they need to dump someone simply based on numbers and rumors are once again beginning to circle that Leandro will depart, while Roma continues to be linked to centerbacks (Vlad Chicklets, for starters). Perhaps there's a bit of concern in the realization, "I just watched Roma's defense get outpaced by a handicapped glacier." Benatia's wonderful, but a sprightly teenager with wheels he is not. This defense is
slow. Oh, and there's the matter of Nico Burdisso, owner of The Glaring Contract, still residing in Rome when you know they'd love to give him a gold watch and one-way ticket to Whereverville. This spot could see significant shakeup in August; if not, expect Romagnoli to be punted to Serie B on loan/co-ownership. Mostly because he frosted his tips in 2013.
Bodies: Federico Balzaretti, Dodo, Torosidis
Considering early season form compared to last year, Balzaretti feels like a new signing. Considering the presence of Dodo...all of that is negated.
Why is Dodo on this football club. There's no issue whatsoever with holding onto his contract - in fact they should, as he's ridiculously gifted in certain respects (pace, pushing the ball four hundred yards ahead of himself and running after it, etc) - but there is a major hole behind Federico unless Torosidis is being seriously considered as the backup. Dodo is quite simply not a fullback. Or a footballer yet.
(There does, of course, exist the possibility that someone will usurp Castan at CB - say, if Timmy pulls a Marquinhos - and Leandro has played LB for the Selecao. Problem is, Leandro's not Rudi's type of rumbling fullback .)
They should be going after a leftback. Sadly, this is likely a set position.
Bodies: DDR, Kevin Strootman, Aleandro Florenzi, Miralem Pjanic, Michael Bradley, Marquinho, Rodrigo Taddei
Team sheet shufflin'. Obviously, Rudi loves Florenzi. Everyone loves Florrest Gump. He's picked up on Rudi's system instantly and will win a starting berth...somewhere. Lock in DDR and Strootman from the start, too. However, that leaves Miralem Pjanic, a player of immense quality who should be on the pitch somewhere. This could mean pushing Florenzi to either of the wing slots, which Garcia has mentioned, and Totti or Lamela into that central striker position. Of course, injuries, suspensions, etc.
However, no more bodies needed here. Marquinho is being linked to Inter and as fifth or sixth, they don't really need his 50/50 offerings of brilliant off-the-ball runs or woeful dribbling and shooting five yards askew. Show 'em some newfound Indonesian money. Plus there's Rodrigo who...well, he could also fill in at fullback, but there's a chance he plays less minutes for Roma than I will this season. There's also Timmy, who played as a DM once against a local school team. Hey. Me too.
Bodies: Francesco Totti, Gervinho, Gianluca Caprari
Totti hasn't been playing left wing this summer - he's been playing left wingback. The man's sitting Balza deep and he just keeps drifting back and back and back...
Anyway, it's Totti will play as much as Totti can play.
There's another guy there now too.
Bodies: Erik Lamela, Gervinho, Gianluca Caprari
Erik's etched in stone in the starting XI somewhere. Hell, he might be second after Francesco. (Third after Good Balza if there's a God.) Whether or not Caprari is deemed a capable backup at the expense of his playing time elsewhere remains to be seen. He hasn't really blown anyone away this summer, but he is gifted. A trial period of six months in Rome may not be the worst thing imaginable.
Bodies: Mattia Destro, Pablo Osvaldo, Marco Borriello, Junior Tallo
Not sure what's worse: that they're so publicly hocking Osvaldo, that they left Borriello back in Rome only to fly him to the States later, or that they keep giving Tallo a shirt. Junior should spend the season somewhere not Rome, which means he's undoubtedly going to be in the squad until June. The rest is a mystery. Osvaldo could be moved. Borriello could be moved. Both could go and they could bring in yet another striker. Or they could shift Francesco and Erik up high and go after more pace on the wings. Or Destro could give birth to Junior Tallo Junior. No one knows. This, however, is the priority. It's a mess on several levels, and Mattia's knees aren't helping.
This is Walter Sabatini's August. Send love and cartons of cigarettes.
Likely loans: Crescenzi, Romagnoli, Caprari, Tallo
Possible sales: Osvaldo, Borriello, Castan, Marquinho
Possible contract dumps: Burdisso, Taddei, JSB