I could regale you with some elegant tale of fiction, recite historical statistics or come up with some clever analogy, but this window needs no dressing. There will be no tricks, no angles, and no highfalutin figurative language; Roma is in dire need of a fullback. The club has been chasing this perpetual dragon for nearly a decade, but the latest name connected to Roma's rearguard is sure to cause a stir, Glen Johnson, yet another aging Englishman seeking rejuvenation abroad.
Johnson, 30, is facing free agency at the end of this season following a failure to negotiate a new contract with Liverpool, for whom he has played since 2009, making over 180 appearances in the process. On his delayed talks, Johnson sounded less than optimistic:
I want to play for a club that wants me...I am not going to go crawling to anybody. The club know where I am and they know the situation. There were minor talks at the end of last season but nothing I could accept or reject.
While the first half is a bit hyperbolic, you can't really fault him there; who among us wants to toil away where we're not wanted (don't answer that if you're not a professional athlete/singer/moviestar), but the tailend of his statement seems to leave the door open for a return to Anfield. Nothing he could "accept or reject" intimates that there is room left to negotiate; not an insulting offer, but not one he or his people necessarily deem fit for a player of his stature.
If you're like me and couldn't care any less about English football, here are Mr. Johnson's bona fides: close to 300 Premiership appearances, 17 goals in all competitions, 54 senior caps with the Three Lions, for whom he scored one competitive goal, and one Premiership title with Chelsea. By and large, Johnson is known for being strong on the ball and an active component in attack.
While his CV isn't quite as sterling as Roma's current English castoff, Ashley Cole, the sales pitch is the same: aging but not necessarily over the hill English defender in search of a new challenge, and, ooh, he might come on a free! Huzzah!
Even the most talented of spin doctors couldn't sell this as any more than yet another bandaid on a bullet wound, so my grousing is less about Johnson and more about Roma's inability to seal this crack.
So what do we think? Would Johnson present any value to Roma in his current form?