Seldom does Roma chase a player as doggedly as they did Edin Dzeko, who was the subject of several months of intense transfer speculation during the winter, spring and summer of 2015, sparking our #DareToDzeko campaign that went viral with literally dozens of accounts picking up on that haphazard hashtag.
And seldom does a transfer disappoint as much as Dzeko did during his first season with Roma. Stranded on an island in Rudi Garcia's sea of wingers, Dzeko turned in one of the worst seasons of his storied career, finding the back of the net only eight times in 31 league appearances. Dzeko didn't do himself any favors (remember this miss?), but he was an awkward fit for Garcia's tactics, averaging only 2.7 shots per match, one of the lowest marks of his career.
However, as was the case with virtually every member of the club, Roma's transition from Rudi Garcia to Luciano Spalletti was a boon to Dzeko's offensive production (more on that in a moment). Dzeko's turn around in 2016-2017 set the stage for what has become one of the most prolific goal scoring careers in club history, as Dzeko's 97 strikes (all comps) currently ranks seventh in club history, and with a little luck and some more dimes from Lorenzo Pellegrini, Dzeko could crack the top five this season if he surpasses Pedro Manfredini's 104 career goals.
Dzeko can score with his left. Dzeko can score with his right. Dzeko can score with his head. Dzeko can hold up play. Dzeko can draw a timely foul. Dzeko is practically the perfect striker and Roma have been damn lucky to have him all these years.
In 201 appearances across all competitions, Dzeko has scored 97 goals and contributed 35 assists. Through four and a half seasons with Roma, Dzeko has been good for 0.49 goals per 90 minutes.
Notable Achievements: 2016-2017 Capocannoniere Season
If Dzeko's debut season with Roma was a horror show, his sophomore season was one for the ages. In 50 appearances that season Dzeko was a monster, scoring a whopping 39 goals between Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Europa League. His 29 league goals were among the most ever for a Roma player in a single season and were good enough to edge out Dries Mertens by one goal for the scoring title, while marking the fifth highest mark in Europe's major leagues.
Dzeko also averaged a league high 4.8 shots per game that season, putting 45% of those on target. And, in a testament to his overall attacking abilities, Dzeko's nine league assists were tied for fourth in the league.
It may be a long, long time before we ever see an individual season quite as brilliant as this.
Where is He Now?
Although he was nearly sold to Inter Milan over the summer, Dzeko remains as integral to Roma as he's ever been. Through 22 appearances between the Europa League and Serie A, Dzeko has scored 10 goals and provided four assists, while averaging four shots per game.
He may be 33-years-old, but he's the same old Dzeko; big, bruising and effective. For his efforts, Dzeko was rewarded with a new deal this past August, keeping him in the capital through the end of the 2021-2022 season.
I get the feeling Dzeko will never get his proper due in certain circles, but you tell me, when's the last time Roma had a striker this good for this long?