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Totti Today #48: Ritiro ratings

Now that AS Roma has officially started its pre-season, it’s time to evaluate the current dog & poy show that’s going on in Pinzolo. Strange faces, familiar faces, unwanted faces, alienated people… You name it, Roma’s got it!

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First, don't forget the list of notable absentees: Players on international duties like De Rossi, Pjanic, Radja, Manolas and Ljajic get a bit more vacaction. But damn that list of players present from July 6 until July 11 in northern Italy is crazy, laughable, depressing and forgettable all at the same time. Our only new addition: Iago ‘Falcon' Falque. Let's get started.

51 Silvio Anocic: I'll say one thing: remember Crescenzi. I've gazed too long at Primavera fullbacks hoping they would turn into the finished product one day. Yet, each and every one couldn't manage it (unless you insert Florenzi and his recent stint at RB). Anocwhatever is not different. Loan.

91 Arturo Calabresi: Born in 1996, wears shirt number 91... Yeps, you'll fit right in son. Nah, I'm just joking. Loan! (apparently he's close to joining Livorno)

95 Elio Capradossi: Another Primavera product. His name sounds 100% Italian, but for people not familiar with him: He has African roots so he has a black skin. Yeah, now you know. Sounds better than Okaka, right? Roma cares but... Loan!

5 Leandro Castan: Oooooh my. The return of Leandro. Whether he'll make it in time to play the first Serie A game is still a mystery. But this pre-season will be a make or break for him. Is he finally fit and able turn back the clock one year? Castan was hailed as one of Italy's best CB back then, alongside Benatia. He looks in decent shape judging from recent training pics, at least that's a good sign. Welcome back Castan, we've sorely missed you! So please stay!

3 Ashley Cole: Ironically, with the departures of Balzaretti (expired contract) and Holebas (99% certain), he's our only leftback,errrr, left. One of 34 years, going on 35. He can stay one more year to provide cover but this position needs a lot of attention by Sabatini, right now! Stay (if he learns how to pose on a team picture). Just keep him away from angry relatives of ex girlfriends in nightclubs to avoid serious injuries.

26 Morgan De Sanctis: Nananananana Batmaaaaan! It would be a shame to dish Morgan after such a fine season, his second in a row with the club. Incoming transfers or not, Morgan must be a part of AS Roma 2015-2016. He's a keeper (el oh el, get it). Stay!

22 Mattia Destro: Well now, this is awkward, no? Roma, Milan, Inter, Monaco, West Ham,... Interesting to see how this turns out. But after having scored against Roma during his Milan spell (and celebrating while doing so), I feel the atmosphere around Mattia is a bit weird. Some things in the past just can't be fixed. One upside of all this: His sale should speed up the Dzeko negotiations. You win some, you lose some. Sell!

52 Lorenzo Di Livio: Nope, never heard of him... Loan!

54 Christian D'Urso: Jezus, what's up with these weird names suddenly? Loan!

14 Iago Falque Silva: Aah good good, I know this one. So this guy's the second former Barcelona youth product born in 1990 to wear the no14 shirt in Roma in the space of, what, 4 years? Bojan was not exactly a hit, let's hope this one turns out to be different. One good spell at Genoa doesn't make you a world beater. I mean, look at Bertolacci: he was great for Genoa but apparently Roma didn't rate him highly enough to be a part of the club. Obviously, duh. Andrea was mediocre... (insert sarcasm emoticon). Obviously stay since he just got here.

24 Alessandro Florenzi: This is a no-brainer. An aunt lover, a Roman lover, a fan favorite. Sell him, sell the soul of this club. Like selling Andrea Bertola.... Ahem, sorry. A definitive stay!

27 Gervinho: Whether he wanted a helicopter and a private beach resort or not, his situation is kinda the same as Destro's. He's still around but unwanted by many due to all the (silly) rumors. It creates a strange tension around his person. There's no way back now, Walter needs to find a club willing to take over Yao. Sell!

7 Juan Manuel Iturbe: We expected much from this transfer, Manu gave us two goals in 27 Serie A games in return. Not enough but his price tag haunts him. And us. Too soon to let go of this prodigy though. I feel Iturbe can be a real stud but he needs to improve. Fast. There's not a lot of time until Serie kicks off. Stay!

57 Jose Machin: Apparently he's a real ‘machine' (get it?) in midfield. The new Keita Yaya Touré. It's up to him to prove his worth. But not yet in Rome. Loan!

2 Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa: His derby goal compensated a lot for his inconsistent displays in 2014-2015. You see, Yanga's not a bad CB, Roma had worse players playing there. But he shouldn't be near a starting spot if the ambitions are the same as last season. Ideally he's a fourth CB and a titular in the Coppa Italia. Stay/sell depending on the offers Roma receives , the future of Romagnoli and Walter's need for more packs of cigarettes.

58 Emanuele Ndoj: Midfielder, Albanian, born in 1996. I had to look it up. Which frankly means I don't really care about him (for now). So you know what's coming right?.... Loan!

32 Leandro Paredes: Hmmmm, the first one on the list that makes it difficult for me. Loan or stay? I quite like what I saw from him last season. But he's in the lower regions of Rudi's pecking order. Though he could be a cheap and easy option. Keep him and midfield has enough bodies to survive 2015-2015. Loan him and we might come in trouble if Pjanic goes down and Strootman's return is postponed... Either way, both him and Ucan can't stay, one should at least deserve some time abroad to gain experience. I'd opt for Paredes to stay.

59 Ionut Pop: He's Romanian, he's a goalkeeper. C'mon, that should be enough to love him. A Lobont light if you'd like. Sadly for him, there's no place for light versions in Rome's 1st team. Loan!

96 Antonio Sanabria: Too little too few in 2014-2015 to really evaluate him. He didn't come cheap so one can say there's a lot of pressure on the kid. He needs to develop and I think he's outgrown the Primavera. Loan! Preferably a two-year-loan while we're at it.

13 Sisenando Maicon: Second case of doubt after Paredes. Dougie had a great first season in Rome, his second was overshadowed by injuries and less stellar performances. He's no Cafu but he's still the most talented RB on the team. Soon to be 34 years, expect no big offers for him anymore. I'm willing to give him one more shot. Maicon, Florenzi and Torosidis can handle the RB spot until January. Then Sabatini can still decide to hunt for a new one or not. LB should be the priority right now. And it looks like it's gonna be a costly affair too. Buy a leftback, save on rightbacks. Therefore, Maicon can stay. At least six more months.

6 Kevin Strootman: The Washing Machine needed a new water pump but Kevin looks ready for the upcoming season. We'll all be eagerly awaiting his comeback on the pitch. Daniele especially. It feels like Roma made a new transfer so obviously: Stay!

55 Tomas Svedkauskas: Jezus, is he still with us? Sveddy just doesn't know when to quit. All I know is Luthuania rarely produces fine footballers and at the age of 21, the raw talent should be visible by now. He can stay a little longer to provide cover for Lobont and Morgan so the staff can judge him. But when a new keeper arrives, it must do a ‘Skorupski': Loan!

10 Francesco Totti: Sell! Errrr, loan! No, stay! Make babies!

48 Salih Uçan: See Paredes' situation. I'd love to see him collect more minutes with a club like Chievo, Palermo or Sassuolo. But for the love of God don't insert a buy-out clause because chances are he'll explode on the Italian scene. Just pray for a injury-free season. Loan!

53 Daniele Verde: The ghost of Pinzolo since he just got loaned out to Frosinone. Well done chap, and good luck (but not too much, remember Andrea Bertol.... Ah, whatever...).

56 Tomas Vestenicky: Attacker. Difficult name to pronounce. Had a nice time with the Primavera but it's time to play with the big boys now. Loan! And please try not to end up like Keivan Zarineh or Marco D'Alessandro!


A lot of players who don't have a Roman future while some players are obvious certitudes for the upcoming season. Add the excluded players mentioned in the beginning of my post plus some fine additions like Dzeko and Baba and Roma looks set to win the Scudetto end on second place again and qualify for the Champions League!

In other words: This dog and pony show needs more big dogs and less cute ponies. Big dogs like Andrea Bertolacci for example (last time, I swear).