Mehdi Benatia, Adem Ljajic, Mattia Destro, Miralem Pjanic, Marco Borriello, Kevin Strootman,… Even Alessandro Florenzi and Vasilis Torosidis have been mentioned at least once during this mercato. No one escapes silly season. It seems Rudi Garcia and Sabatini are happy with the current squad but you never know what happens on August 31, that day is one of the craziest in the entire year. Remember 2010 (Borriello from Milan) or 2011 (the hattrick Borini/Gago/Pjanic).
Or Goicoechea in 2012. Ok, that last one never happened. Ever.
So if Rudi and Walter are content about the squad(and probably most of the fans as well), why change? Why risk letting a player go one week before the start of Serie A with the uneasy task of finding a valuable replacement in such a short time frame? Panic purchases are often a hit or miss and rarely transform into an A+ signing. Because, well, that’s why they’re called panic purchases. AS Roma, standing in front of a tough Champions League campaign (we’re probably in pot 4) and the fight for a top 3 spot in Serie A, can miss those moves like tooth pain. They need to look at themselves first and then the others. And yet, when a team like Chelsea or Bayern come knocking at the door, there will always be someone at Roma who opens it. Mostly Walter with a creepy face, whispering a quiet ‘Whooooo…. is iiiiiiiit?’
Dark days and dark discussions
Roma are still below the top of Europe, the teams who can ignore outrageous bids. Partly because they’re still building a team for the future and haven’t won anything the last six years, partly because they earn peanuts compared to juggernauts like Real, ManU and Barca when you look at sponsors, tv rights, commercials, incomes from the stadium attendance,… That should change with 1) a new stadium and 2) a very welcome Scudetto in the near future. People tend to forget this is still a project. It doesn’t turn into a finished article with one second place in Serie A, it’s only the beginning. Don’t forget where we come from since team USA took over: back-to-back horrible seasons (2012 and 2013) when Roma was on the verge of reaching rock-bottom. The only recent ‘achievement’ was a Coppa Italia final in 2013 which eventually resulted in one of the darkest days in the history of AS Roma.
Only recently the sun has been shining on Trigoria and the people of Rome but unfortunately it also means new challenges. Big teams are after our players now… And our very own players know this (thank you, Social Media). For example: Maicon and Gervinho are/were both involved in a discussion with Roma. A discussion about… *the sound of drums*… money. Higher wage demands to be more specific. Ironically, Roma chose to save/revive/reactivate/refresh their careers and took them from City and Arsenal respectively. Leading both players to a ticket on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup and a Champions League campaign for 2014-2015. Thus they owe Roma. A lot. Apparently, in the head of a manager, that means asking for more frikkin’ money. Sadly, true loyalty is getting scarce in the modern football world. One tip: don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
A brave new kid
Luckily, the fans give the good example. Most of them fought through the hard times and are now enjoying a brave new world. One where pot 4 in the Champions League doesn’t scare us and people around the peninsula claim Roma is a true title contender for 2014-2015. Since Garcia entered the frame, Roma hasn’t looked back. Not one step backwards, they took Italy by storm, leading to their current situation. A Catch-22: selling your best assets, cash in and look for new pearls? Or give the big boys the middle finger, singing There’s a new kid in town. Because Roma’s back at the top and they intend to stay there as long as possible.
Maybe next time someone knocks on the door of Sabatini’s office, he should just close the door and throw away the key into the dark abyss. Make a stance, call it a day. No one is getting in … and no one’s getting out of Rome.