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Roma Season Previews: The Midfielders

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CDT's positional season previews continue with the midfield, arguably the strongest area on this year's Roma team even though there's been some major roster changes within the department.

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Fortunately for Roma, this year's midfield has the potential to be the best in Serie A, if not all of Europe, which could buoy a domestic title challenge or even a deep run in a European tournament. Knowing Roma it would be the Europa League though.

But seriously, the midfield has the perfect blend of youth and experience to keep Roma's opponents on their toes. The talent level is so deep that the backups could start on quite a few teams. In fact, much of Roma's midfield is coveted by many teams, which makes this a convenient time to discuss departures from last season's midfield unit.

Who's Out (The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly)

The good? Roma managed to ditch Seydou Keita this summer. While he was a great leader both on and off the pitch for Roma, Keita was never anything spectacular and at 35 is far past his prime. Besides, if manager Luciano Spalletti is frustrated with Leandro Paredes' slow movement on the ball, one can only imagine what he thought of Keita.

The bad? Roma let Salih Ucan go back to Turkey. In the end, Salih's Excellent Roman Adventure was a huge fail for all parties involved. The multi-year loan move cost Roma a good chunk of change, and Ucan spent two years rotting away on the bench in the capital, his development almost completely stagnated.

The ugly? Let's not talk about he who shall not be named. Every Roma fan already knows the story through and through.

Who's In (Again)

Roma's midfield reinforcements are mostly internal, with Kevin Strootman aka Dutch Jesus returning from a knee injury and Argentine wonder kid Leandro Paredes returning from a successful loan spell at mid-table Serie A club Empoli.

The only real 'new' addition to the midfield is Brazilian phenom Gerson, who finally officially arrived in Rome earlier this summer.

Who Will Struggle

It's obvious isn't it? William Vainqueur will struggle mightily this season. Last year, Q was the preferred option off the bench over Salih Ucan and sometimes Seydou Keita. But now, he's competing with Gerson and Leandro Paredes. With the talent floor of the bench being raised like that, it wouldn't be surprising to see Q struggle to get minutes.

If Spalletti goes with a true rotation in the midfield, Q would get minutes by default, but even then he runs the risk of being exposed playing alongside younger players who have higher potential.

Who Will Shine

While it's likely much of the midfield will shine this season, the individual midfielder most likely to shine is Radja Nainngolan. The Belgian international will be looking to prove his 50 million euro price tag is no fluke following a fantastic 2016 European Championship and a brief flirtation with North London club Chelsea earlier this summer.

At 28, Nainggolan is almost at the height of his powers and is one of the most consistent midfielders in the entire league. As long as he keeps the long shots under control, he should have a great season.

Confidence Factor: 10/10

This year's midfield has it all. Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan, and Kevin Strootman are all seasoned veterans who have international experience and acclaim, while Gerson and Leandro Paredes are budding superstars. And then there's William Vainqueur.

Assuming there's no major injuries to the players mentioned above, the midfield will be a huge strength for this year's Roma team.