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Roma, Romagnoli and Dzeko: A Tangled Transfer Mess

Roma is playing a dangerous game, simultaneously talking City down on their Dzeko asking price while flirting with Milan and Aresnal for hometown boy and future rock of the Azzurri defense Alessio Romagnoli

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If you've noticed a lack of news and/or transfer updates this week, there's a good reason for that; Roma is engaged in two precarious and interdependent transfer sagas, which will have dramatic ramifications on the course of this club over the next decade. With Walter Sabatini playing the role of the jilted lover, begging and pleading with Manchester City for another chance at Edin Dzeko and his inflated price tag, Roma are considering a drastic measure to raise funds for that endeavor, selling Alessio Romagonli, who may or may not be the next Alessandro Nesta. Which, following this analogy, would be like cashing in your 401(k) to buy a diamond ring for your erstwhile lover. It'll soothe your soul in the short term, but at the end of the day, you're still left wanting.

There aren't a ton of tangible updates in either storyline, so let's take a quick look at the gossip of the day.

Let's start with Dzeko, the more benign and well-publicized half of this equation. There's nothing really new on Roma's end, Sabatini continues to press the issue, presumably trying to talk City into a lower payment and/or longer payment period, but the latest wrinkle in the story stems not from City or Roma, but from Dzeko himself.

While Dzeko was lauded for his willingness to take a paycut to come to Rome, it appears as though he has a backdoor plan to recoup those missing millions. With the gap between the two clubs somewhere in the neighborhood (on the low end) of three million pounds, Dzeko has reportedly demanded that he receive that same amount directly from City if he leaves for Roma, as sort of a quasi-compensation for terminating the new four year deal he signed with City last year.

The conundrum between pay and play is always a fascinating issue in these scenarios. I mean, who among us would walk away from millions? However, as a professional athlete, one would presume Dzeko would want to play regularly, particularly with Euro 2016 looming, not to mention the 2018 World Cup, in which one would presume he'd hope to play.

Furthemore, you have to wonder why he'd sign with City in the first place. Players who sign with City or Barcelona or anyone of that ilk must know they're one bad move away from never playing again; these teams have the financial wherewithal to replace any player at any moment. With the enormous influx of TV revenue into the British game, it will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out over the next ten years or so; midtable clubs will be able to offer competitive wages and more playing time, which may leave fringe-Euro giants like Roma, Lyon, Atletico, Marseille etc. out in the cold.

As far as Romagnoli Roulette is concerned, that's where things get dicey. We as Roma fans are particularly covetous of our youth, especially when they're from Rome, and especially when they've already proved they can hack it in Serie A...and ESPECIALLY when they draw comparisons to Nesta, which might be an absurd comparison in and of itself, but all this fuss between Milan and Roma has drawn additional eyes on the prize, English eyes.

In an intriguing and potentially persuasive development, Arsenal has jumped into the fray, reportedly topping AC Milan's €25 million by five million, hoping to land Romagnoli as an eventual replacement for Per Mertesacker.

I can't really sit here and say that €30 million isn't an absurd oh-my-god-you-can't-pass-that-up amount, but as I've harped on many times in these spaces, where do you draw the line? At some point, Roma must reap rewards from their youth system, particularly as they could never afford to purchase a €30 million defender on the open market. So if you have one, why not hang onto him?

As we've mentioned, Dzeko is the lynchpin to Roma's summer transfer campaign, so until this is solved, expect tangible news to be at a standstill.