During a recent behind the scenes conversation with some of the crew, the topic of Roma’s Italianness came up. Spurred by the Atalanta-Milan match over the weekend, one that featured nearly a dozen Italians between the two starting lineups, the question arose: Who in Roma’s nominal starting eleven could realistically be replaced by an Italian.
I want you to pay attention the word realistic there. Sure, we’d all swap out Kevin Strootman or even Radja Nainggolan for Marco Verratti, and many of us would love a shot at Andrea Belotti, but those moves aren’t realistic, nor is the notion that Roma could somehow reobtain Alessio Romagnoli. We’re talking real here, players that, for reasons financial and logistical, would represent an upgrade over Roma’s current starting XI, or at the very worst would be a lateral move/slight downgrade that enabled a current player to thrive in a different position or role.
So, if we consider Roma’s starting lineup as follows:
Other than Daniele De Rossi, who could you swap out for a reasonable Italian replacement? Honestly, outside of pushing Kevin Strootman to the bench in favor of an actual deep lying playmaker, and dumping Szczesny for someone like Mattia Perin or Marco Sportiello, I’m not sure there are any reasonable Italian upgrades out there.
So, I’m turning this over to you. Is there any plausible way Roma can become more Italian, or dare I say, more Roman? If so, who would you bring aboard and who gets the boot?