With their signing of Hakan Calhanoglu yesterday, AC Milan continues their €100M + makeover, desperately trying to reclaim their former glory as one of Europe’s most storied clubs. And while you may doubt Vincenzo Montella’s ability to spin it all together, Milan should be vastly improved next season and should mount a credible threat to the top three. While Milan has been busy loading up this summer, Roma have been flipping assets like they’re on a special episode of Storage Wars (is that show still on? I have no idea).
The latest name on the chopping block is none other than Antonio Rüdiger. As we discussed last week, Roma, after being rebuffed by Kostas Manolas, quickly pivoted to sell their next most valuable defensive asset in Rüdiger. And much like the attempted Manolas transfer, Roma only engaged one suitor, Chelsea.
Late last week, Chelsea and Roma had seemingly agreed on the framework of a deal potentially worth €38 million, with the Londoners forking over €33 million upfront. Taken with the fact that Rüdiger “liked” Chelsea’s new kits on social media (this didn’t happen in the days of AOL instant messenger, you filthy millennials) , the buzz surrounding this move became damn near deafening. And while Manchester City was rumored to be lodging a last minute bid, it seems as though Chelsea got their man.
As you can see, in the ensuing days between the rumor and confirmation, Monchi managed to squeeze an extra million out of the deal, which we can only presume he’ll spend on unearthing Serie A’s first Inuit midfielder. Football Italia’s sources indicate that Rüdiger has already undergone his medical examination, meaning this move is all but a formality.
What this means for Roma in the short term is anyone’s guess, but as it stands right now, Roma’s defense rests in the hands of Manolas, who’s off a down year, Federico Fazio, who definitely faded down the stretch, and Hector Moreno, the very definition of a replacement-level player. And to date, the only viable name we’ve heard as a reinforcement is a 19-year-old South American kid (Juan Foyth) who looks like he missed out on a boyband audition and decided to play football instead, oh, and Zenit has already outbid Roma for his signature.
And yes, we’re aware that it’s only July 4th and there are miles to go in the summer transfer window, but there is ample reason to be skeptical. Eusebio Di Francesco is a tactically stubborn, attack at all costs manager making a gigantic leap in class, while the club’s DS, though well renowned, is coming from a club that finished 4th, 7th, 5th, 5th, and 9th the past five seasons.
So you can call us relentlessly negative if you must, but that confluence of factors, coupled with what they’ve done thus far in the market, is incredibly worrisome. EDF and Monchi may take Roma to greater heights at the end of the day, but as of right now, their profiles are decidedly midtable.
And if there’s one thing Roma fans can’t tolerate it’s mediocrity, so if you’ve made these moves to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch, just admit it, but if you grabbed EDF and Monchi in part to topple Juventus, what you’ve done so far ain’t cutting it. It’s a movie we’ve seen six times now: the club hires a new manager, makes bold claims and ultimately sells them short when it comes to outfitting the squad.
But that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, let’s say a fond farewell to Rüdiger. I won’t miss the ‘alt + 0252’ from your surname, but your aggressive play and infectious smile will certainly be missed.