If you'll pardon the World Cup interjection, there are transfer rumor to pontificate upon, juicy ones at that. There doesn't appear to be a way around it at this point, Mehdi Benatia is as good as gone, and now that the transfer window is officially opened, we can probably expect new stories and new suitors to spring up on a daily basis. So, before we get lost in the knockout phases for the day, let's take a quick trip through Roma rumor land.
Manchester City have been Mehdi Benatia's most active suitor, so the rumor that they've agreed to personal terms with Roma's center back should come as no surprise, but the fact that this rumor hints that this is all but official, pending Roma finding a suitable replacement, gives it a sense of finality the prior stories all lacked.
The reported transfer fee, €37m, while not approaching the record €42m for defender PSG paid for Thiago Silva, still represents a profit of more than €20m for Roma, which we all know would go a long way to aiding Roma's remaining market aims. One interesting wrinkle missing from this rumor, one which we've seen sporadically throughout this whole process, is the player going the other way; at various times, we've read about Eden Dzeko or Stevan Jovetic possibly being thrown into to this deal in some shape or form. They're both interesting players, though they're not without their faults, so stay tuned in that regard.
As far as the potential loss of Benatia, consider this: Udinese got him for nothing, flipped him to us for about €14m, and now he's about to go for nearly €40 to City, but apart from the spectacular season he just turned in, what has he ever done?Sure, he was solid for Udinese for two seasons, but he missed half of the 2012-2013 season before coming to Roma. And, yes, we've touted Benatia as the best centerback in the business, and he very well may be, but his record of success, of actual greatness, isn't that long, so City are still taking a sizeable gamble on this deal.
As for Benatia, what was once a promising Roman career, one destined for Hall of Fame status, is now suddenly tarnished with claims of mercenarism being thrown at him from all angles.
So, what would you do with a sudden influx of nearly €24m? Well, if you're Walter Sabatini you apparently splash that down on a new winger in the form of Alessio Cerci. While Torino appears to have balked at the €13m + Valerio Verre offer, there's no way in hell they're getting Alessandro Florenzi, so what we have here is a stare down between Sabatini and Urbano Cairo over the future of Italy's favorite mop topped winger.
Cerci didn't have the best World Cup performance, but then again, what Italian did, but he has accounted for 21 goals and 18 assists during this two seasons at Torino.
We've already spent too much time discussing this move, so you'll have to forgive me when I say that I'll believe it when I see it. Nevertheless, this story has progressed naturally: the initial reports seemed to come too easy, then there was a debate about the cost, then it was the nature of the deal itself (loan vs sale), then what Roma would subsequently do with him, and now the medical. So, while this has been frustrating, it is at least moving in the right direction.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is a 20-year-old Belgian midfielder currently plying his trade for Monaco. In 18 appearances this past season, he notched three goals and three assists, while averaging 1.2 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per match. He's a left sided midfielder who appears to be quite creative, athletic and possesses a keen eye for the cross, all of which would suit him well at Roma, so let's hope this one is true.
We spoke about Basa last week, but any delay in this move necessarily impacts any potential Benatia sale. While Basa was great for Lille last season, he is in no way on Benatia's level, so there are most likely other dominoes waiting to fall between Benatia's departure and Basa's arrival.
Whether its Luis Enrique playing the part of the jilted lover, or Barcelona DS Andoni Zubizzarreta simply not wanting to tip his hand, the negotiations between Roma and Barca over the versatile 29-year-old defender has hit another stumbling block, with Zubizzarreta saying, quite unequivocally, "We're not dealing with any club". While this is probably just a negotiating/stall tactic, dealing with a large club with a new coach is never easy.
So thats it for now, what do we think? Has Benatia already tarnished his legacy? Is Cerci worth €20m? Can CdT handle this many Belgians at once?