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Benatia To Return Against Catania?

In our semi-regular rumor roundup, we take a look at the possible return and possible sale of Mehdi Benatia, Italy's continual decline in European competition and the possible addition of Didier Drogba

Enrico Locci

If your non-CDT existence is anything like mine, your week has probably been incredibly slow, incredibly gray, incredibly rainy, and required copious amounts of caffeine, so please excuse the 48 hour absence. With that in mind, let's take an extremely harried look into what we missed.

Benatia Back Against Catania?

We'll start this off with some good news, the potential return of Mehdi Benatia. While the actual results of this match and those that follow are rather inconsequential, the return of Benatia is a welcomed one nevertheless. However, with this year's Serie A story already written, is it wise to risk an aggravation to his injury?

Mancs Mad for Benatia

Now, the bad Benatia news...well, an unsubstantiated rumor at least. It now appears that both Manchester Clubs, United and City, are keen on Benatia's services. The reason is, of course, rather obvious. Not only is Benatia one of Serie A's best defenders, but with five goals scored and some pretty decent passing numbers, he's put together one of the best season on the peninsula, full stop. And, making matters worse, he is only 27, meaning he is only now approaching the apex of his powers.

Given that he's only one year into his contract, not to mention that he turned down larger clubs last season, we can feel relatively safe that Benatia won't head for more moneyed pastures. While we can make arguments that Roma can survive without Miralem Pjanic--given the existence of several plausible alternatives--I don't know that the same can be said for Benatia.

Hey, speaking of Miralem...

Pjanic Ponders a Catalonian Career?

With so many good players it would be easy to be understood in the field...With their style of play, like in Rome with Rudi Garcia, I would adapt very well. And there I would be able to demonstrate the best of my abilities. It is not a bad destination, either as a city or as a climate.

Well, there's no arguing that last point. By any measure, Barcelona is one of the world's finest cities, and, yes, anyone can succeed in Barca's system, but that doesn't mean he should leave, right?

Pjanic has long been connected with a move to PSG, but his praise for Roman fans and their relationship with the club, Pjanic commented:

Roma fans are really nothing like those in France. They live for their club, every day speak only of their team and I like that.. It’s the same passion that exists in my country. Winning a title here is like winning 10 in Milan or Juventus. And I really, really want to experience all this

What this tells me is, at the very least, Pjanic wants to stick around Roma for some time; maybe not his entire career, but it doesn't seem as if he's planning on jumping ship this June. We hope

Italy Falls Behind Portugal in Coefficient Rankings

We'll shift to focus to a slightly more tangible version of off-the-pitch news, the continued decline of Italian clubs in continental competitions, most recently typified by Juventus loss to Benfica.

This one is pretty roughly translated by the Google Gods, but Italy has now fallen to fifth in the pecking order, behind Spain, Germany, England, and now Portugal. This is obviously not good news for the league as a whole, nor for Roma, as top two must be an annual goal if they wish to avoid the load less traveled, so to speak.

While we may never see the halcyon days of the 1990s again, surely Serie A can do better than fifth, no?

Roma & Chelsea fight for Drogba

Why Roma would lust after a 36-year-old striker is beyond me, but Didier Drogba has certainly had an impressive career, but Drogba's last standout season was nearly a half-decade ago, when he scored 29 goals for Chelsea. While he's far from finished--scoring 10 goals for Galatasaray this season--what can be reasonably be expected for a player his age next season?

Who's better, this year's Roma or Spalletti's 2008 squad?

Julian throws us a lot of love on Twitter, and its high time we return the favor. De Martinis tackles a tough issue in this one, which Roma was better: Spalletti's '07-'08 side or Garcia's current rendition? JDM (thats what I'm gonna call him) gives us a detailed, position-by-position breakdown of this debate.

Its a great read and a fantastic reminder of just how far "we" have come in seven years.

That's it for this haphazard look at the headlines, we'll dive into the Catania fixture tomorrow.