This has been, without a doubt, the strangest season in my Roma fandom, and certainly since I've been pouring my thoughts out in these spaces. When viewed objectively, the 2014-2015 season, by normal Roma standards, has been a resounding success. With three matches left to play, Roma is primed to repeat in the Champions League for the first time in several years—how many of us could have envisioned that two or three seasons ago when Luis Enrique was leading the charge, I term I use loosely, I might add?
But therein lies the problem; Romans seldom view their team with any measure of objectivity. Yes, after so many years of mediocrity, standing as Italy's second best team for a second straight year is probably about the best we could have and should have hoped after such a massive regime change, but last year's miraculous run had the worst sort of unintended consequences, it raised the stakes. No longer was being an also ran good enough for this club and for this city, Rudi Garcia had the club on the precipice of their fourth Scudetto, and with oodles of young talent throughout the squad, The Old Lady's reign of terror might finally be put to an end.
You don't need to me to rehash what's happened since, you've felt my anguish with each and every match review. Perspective is great, but the 2013-2014 season proved that, with the right formula and ingredients, Roma can be a serious title contender. Once that thought entered the collective consciousness of this fan base, Roma was doomed; doomed by the pressure of premature and unrealistic expectations, made worse by the throngs of impatient fans beating down the doors of Trigoria.
Given how tumultuous this season has been and how nearly every single player on the squad has suffered the slings and arrows of armchair managers across the globe—yes, even Francesco Totti—it should come as little surprise that many people are clamoring for yet another top-to-bottom overhaul, sparing only those deemed worthy of and loyal to the crest.
So it's not really surprising that, with three weeks remaining and much of substance left to play for, we're seeing articles like these; bold, unbiased claims that all but a handful of Roma's current roster will be given the boot, as if anything with multimillion dollar assets is that cut and dry.
Certainly, we should expect the quartet of Romans to return, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi, Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele De Rossi (I'm not buying that MLS nonsense), while the millions invested in Kostas Manolas, not to mention his positional scarcity, should see him comfortably back in Rome next season, ditto for Juan Iturbe, unless Walter Sabatini can somehow turn a quick profit on an underperforming, and let's be honest, underutilized asset. Beyond that, one would imagine the Balkan Boys, Miralem Pjanic and Adem Ljajic, will be welcomed back with open arms, unless they are actually keen about moving on. While Kevin Strootman and Leandro Castan are too often injured to think about moving on.
Right there we're talking about only, what, less than 50% of the squad? Certainly Gervinho isn't going anywhere, not as long as Garcia is in town, while Seydou Doumbia is (unfortunately) bound to Roma for a few more years. Throw in the probably returns of Radja Nainggolan and Davide Astori, and we're still looking at a full dozen spots up in the air, with Roma's always precious youth, guys like Leandro Paredes and Salih Uçan, perched somewhere between usefulness and perpetual loanee status.
But is this what Roma really needs? Will another summer of upheaval really advance James Pallotta's aims? At some point or another, they have to shit or get off the pot. You're either buying what Rudi is selling, or you're not.
We cannot endure another cruel summer....yes, that Bananarama reference was intended.