Forget Sabatini’s night moves, Walter anno 2014 works 24/7, rocks and smokes around the clock. Another week, another incoming transfer. Davide Astori strengthens the position of CB and brings a lot of Italian experience to the defensive department. Walter finally found the perfect solution for the third CB spot: quality material but still able to play second fiddle in case one of the two main men (Castan and Benatia) go down. In a season where Roma is fighting on all three fronts (CL/Serie A/Coppa), Davide will see a lot of minutes for sure. Let’s just hope it’s not ‘thanks to’ a grave Benatia injury.
Just for fun, here are players who were brought in by Roma to deal with the CB emergency role in recent seasons: Toloi, Loria, Diamoutene, Guillermo Burdisso, Heinze, Kjaer, Riise, Andreolli, Cassetti. If I went any further, I might as well put my left testicle and Adrian 'training cone' Pit on that list. No wonder people are psyched for the upcoming season. Times have truly changed and Astori was one of the best possible solutions Roma could find. This mercato is gunning for an A+ if you ask me.
The fact that Walter snapped Astori from right under Lazio’s nose, makes it all even more worthwhile. It’s clear Roma ain’t making friends this Summer (Juve, Lazio, Inter when they realize how ‘good’ Dodo is for € 9m). Walter has been busy in July and is basically giving Garcia his complete team before the start of August, one whole month before the start of Serie A. And as we all know, a good start in the competition is vital for the final standings, just look at last season.
Judging from all the temporary A- and B-teams which Roma could field, they look strong enough to cope with injuries and fatigue. Balzaretti’s out for another two months, Strootman is getting there but will still miss a big chunk of games. Those two are the only big concerns. The rest can focus 100% on preseason. Also comes in handy: no European qualifiers whatsoever, thanks to the automatic CL-qualification. No Slovan Bratislava drama this time around. The group stage begins 16-17 september, enough time to take Serie A by storm first.
But who cares about Europe these days anyway? I started out with the mighty continent of North-America (pronounced: ‘Murica’). It’s all happening in the land of the free and the home of the brave right now. Roma’s in the middle of a highly prestigious tour in the US, facing Liverpool (win), Man United (loss but hey, at least no 7-1), Inter and Real. Basically a warm-up for the real deal, the Champions League. Two of our main protagonists of last year, Maicon and Gervinho, were still missing but a game where Pjanic scores a gem and Totti just, you know, steps on the field, is always a good game. The loss against Shrek and co might temper the whole ‘huuuurah’-feeling surrounding AS Roma a bit and that’s good. We’ve still got a long way to go it seems but people tend to forget it’s only July, Serie A starts in four weeks time. Thinking about the positives suffices for now: Ucan, Benatia, Sanabria, Totti is healthy,… So please, save the drama for when the season starts. We can condemn the bad performances when there are actual points and prizes at stake.
Spoiled by Saba
How foolish of me, I forgot to mention Walter's second deal this week, Yedlin. This move might smell like Bradley’s one (raise American awareness for AS Roma) but I saw him play against Belgium in Brazil and the boy surprised me. One for the future and God knows we can use decent fullbacks soon. Chances are, Saba has signed yet another prodigy by the time you are done reading this. A Belgian one at that, Ferreira-Carrasco. Which could have consequences for Ljajic as he might chose to leave Rome in search for more minutes (especially if he wants show himself for the Serbian NT and the qualifiers for Euro 2016).
But does that count as a huge loss and a downgrade in quality on the flanks? And what about Romagnoli’s recent performances? Enough to stay as a fourth choice CB? Or would a lean be more useful for his growth? And what’s up with all those Destro rumors lately? And who on earth is financing Walter’s cigarettes since June? Can Marlboro keep up the production of his famous ‘life juice’? Just when you thought Roma’s mercato was done and dusted, another can of questions opens up. But a Sabatini on fire always finds the right answers.