We'll take a break from the gripping drama of the Guinness International Champions Cup to catch up on the week's news and rumors, which, in case you were busy, haven't slowed down one bit. In all seriousness, the GICC, as far as pre-season tours and matches are concerned, is a pretty good idea; great teams, great venues, old rivalries...it could be far, far worse. As someone who hasn't had the chance to catch the club in the States, I hope it becomes annual rite. And for those of you who have, again, please feel free to share your stories and/or photos in our Fanshot sections.
Anyway, back to the rumor mill, which at this point, seems to revolve around the respective futures of Adem Ljajic, Mattia Destro and Matteo Darmian.
Adem Ljajic has never been a stranger to transfer rumors, but what was once steeped in his supposed childish attitude has taken on a more ambiguous hue. Ljajic has shown a remarkable amount of poise and maturity in his brief time in Roma, seldom registering a complaint about his hit-or-miss playing time, making the calls for his exit all the more frustrating. It would be one thing if he was still playing the part of a petulant child or causing a ruckus with Rudi Garcia, but he hasn't, he's been a model citizen and appears to have taken to life in Rome like a duck in water.
In 28 appearances last season (1,620 minutes), Ljajic managed six goals and five assists while completing 91% of his passes. We've barely scratched the surface of what Sir Nutella might become, but Roma's recent moves and Ljajic's very real talent has kept him firmly entrenched in the rumor mill. His latest suitors are rumored to be Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.
So, if this dark day does indeed come, at least we won't be directly terrorized, right?
You know my stance on this, you simply can't convince me that its wise to sell a player as young, efficient and as talented as Mattia Destro, but that hasn't stopped the vultures from circling. Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg have reportedly renewed their interest in Mr Right, though no figures are mentioned in this particular link. However, if we cruise over to an Italian site, we see that the GDS cites a €25m ebay-style reserve clause placed on Destro.
We talked a bit this week about what Roma might look like post-Totti, but we sort of glanced over an important point. Totti is, of course, irreplaceable in form and function--he's simply that unique and that intelligent--so rather than focusing on who would fill his tactical shoes, we should also consider the option that Roma's offense will transform completely in his absence, both in form and function. Complicit in that change might be a heavier focus on the striker, so if Roma were to part ways with Destro now, in two years time they could very well find themselves pining after a player in his mold.
Barring a mega offer, this rumor just doesn't hold water in my eyes, though it would probably make me cry if it happened...ironic.
While not tactically related, it would seem that any monies earned from a Ljajic or Destro sale would be used on Torino defender Matteo Darmian, a recent addition to the Roma rumor mill. With reports that the Toros have already turned down a €9m offer from Atletico Madrid, as well as denying Walter Sabatini's early loan with an option to buy overtures, the versatile defender won't come cheap.
And when I say versatile, I mean it. Darmian played seven different positions for Torino last season, chipping in three assists and averaging nearly three tackles per match. He may not be the second coming of Roberto Carlos, but Darmian is solid and remarkably versatile, and at 24-years-old, he should have plenty of room to grow and develop, but is that worth more than ten million?
Roma and Cagliari appear to have a great working relationship, and it seems as though Sabatini is ready to dip into the well once more, this time for Chilean forward Mauricio Pinilla. This rumor would see Pinilla, who has scored 22 goals in three seasons for Cagliari, take his talents to Roma while young uns Tonny Sanabria and Ricci, presumably Federico, would go on loan with Zeman.
This seems like a fair swap, ZZ could certainly work miracles with Roma's young attackers, while Pinilla would give the Giallorossi a sizeable target man to backup Destro. This move would probably spell the end of Marco Borriello's time in Roma, however.
This one is in Italian, but La Roma discusses the possibility of Roma needing to raise roughly €50m to avoid possible Financial Fair Play fines, but, as we've seen with City and PSG, there are ways around this. However, if Roma aren't able to squeeze through or create new loopholes in this sometimes toothless law, the rumors surrounding the sales of Kevin Strootman, Mehdi Benatia or Miralem Pjanic are sure to resurrect themselves
We can't leave without throwing this one up there. Francesco Totti, who seldom gets credit for his sense of humor and camaraderie with teammates, used a team photo in Philadelphia as a chance to take the piss out of Ashley Cole's now famous ode to introverts everywhere. Bravo, Captiano. Bravo.
That's it for now, Roma takes on Inter tomorrow in their final group stage match in the Guinness International Champions Cup.