With the start of the Premiership season today, the eyes of the footballing world are understandably trained on London and all points surrounding, but the focus of Rome turns to the Thames for a different reason. For much of the summer it seemed that Mehdi Benatia was the man most likely to make a move to the Premiership, with Chelsea his latest suitor. However, as we discussed earlier in the week, in the wake of Jose Mourinho effectively denying this rumor, it seemed that all was well and good in Trigoria. Everyone was staying and everyone was (presumably) happy.
Not so fast...Word broke yesterday that Walter Sabatini had landed in London, presumably not to try the fine cuisine but to broker not one, not two, but possibly three separate deals.
At the tip of the spear appear was the it-makes-no-sense-thank-god-it-died rumor of Mattia Destro reuniting with Franco Baldini in Tottenham, a rumor we attempted to destroy a few weeks ago. However, as is often the case, rumors tend to reincarnate themselves, with little to no regard for veracity or simple sense. The latest twist, seemingly spurred on (no pun intended) by the British press, would see Spurs fork over €25m for young Destro.
But it doesn't end there, unfortunately. Late last night, the English press began reporting that not only would Roma part ways with Destro, but Benatia's long rumored (or rumoured, keeping with the English theme) move to Chelsea would finally come to fruition, with Roman Abramovich's crew doling out at least €30m for the massive Moroccan. This has, in turn, triggered rumors that Roma will then seize upon either Vlad Chiriches or Gabriel Paletta as a replacement.
Still with me?
As if that wasn't enough to drive you mad, a tasty tangential transfer has now been thrown into the mix. Word around the rumor mill now states that, in addition to doing business in London, Sabatini is attempting to make inroads in Manchester with an eye on taking City's Stevan Jovetic on loan for the season, with, of course, an option to buy. On the surface, this would seem like a circuitous Jovetic-for-Destro swap, and don't get me wrong, JoJo is hellaciously talented, but this swap, as it were, would still leave Roma strikerless, talented though Jovetic might be.
With a little more than two weeks to go in the summer transfer window, this trio of moves, if they come to life, will have far reaching implications and should set off a flurry of ancillary moves from all teams involved, as both Roma and Spurs would need defensive reinforcements, Chelsea might have to off load a defender and Roma would still need a nominal striker, and we haven't even discussed how this would impact the future of Adem Ljajic.
Of course, all this is predicated upon the notion that Roma has gap in their budget, rumored to be anywhere from €15m-€30m, so any sale would seemingly be made with that figure in mind. As it stands right now, in football terms, the squad seems set, particularly if they've convinced Benatia to stay. So, the fact they'd add anyone, let alone someone of Jovetic's stature and cost, seems odd, which has led to conjecture about Rudi Garcia's faith in Destro.
For my two cents, you gotta keep Destro no matter what. The club has attacking and creative players in spades, making Jovetic a luxury rather than a necessity, albeit an extremely talented one, though he has injury concerns of his own. But without a true center forward to finish the buildup play from that cadre of creative midfielders, where are we? We've seen what happens when Roma's attack relies too heavily upon wing play, things stagnate and chances become few and far between. You can't clamor for years that the club doesn't have a proper striker then turn around and sell the only one you have; an extremely talented one at that.
As always, stay tuned. Rumors don't get crazier or have more potential impact than this one.