With 66 goals scored in 38 league matches, Roma were the fourth most prolific attack in Serie A, trailing league leading Atalanta (What? Seriously? How did that happen?) by 11 goals. While 1.7 goals per match is a decent haul, Roma's offense seemed to phone it in every now and then, particularly in the latter stages of the season where they struggled to forge an offensive identity under Claudio Ranieri, scoring one goal or less on seven different occasions down the stretch. What's more, Roma actually under-performed their expected goals mark by nearly two; not a terrible sign, and certainly not the league's worst mark, but not exactly an encouraging trend.
Oddly enough, Roma's 66 goals were an improvement over their prior year form in which they scraped together 61 goals, but both marks represent a steep drop-off from Spalletti's second tour through Rome, in which they scored 90 goals during their record breaking 2016-2017 campaign.
Of course, a huge part of that record run was the performance of Edin Dzeko, who scored a career high 29 league goals en route to that season's capocannoniere. Considering that, it's not terribly surprising that Dzeko's sluggish Serie A scoring rate had an effect on the attack as a whole.
What's the point of all that? Simple. While we shouldn't have expected another 90 goal haul this season, EDF and Ranieri's respective attacks simply didn't cut the mustard, and with Dzeko likely out the door and with no reliable goal scoring threat to take his place, where should Roma turn?
#ASRoma have asked #Inter to include Mauro Icardi as part of an exchange deal with Edin Dzeko, claim Sky Sport Italia, but the Argentine is resisting https://t.co/mIHFLAt4Vk #Argentina #SerieA #Juventus #MUFC pic.twitter.com/Sc8c59cDve— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 5, 2019
Well, if you believe this outlandish rumor, Roma may turn to Mr. Wanda Icardi himself, possibly as part of a deal that sends Dzeko the other way. By now, you're no doubt aware of the Icardi-Inter mess: The club wants nothing to do with him, going so far as to propose a swap with Juventus for Paulo Dybala, while Wanda hasn't seen fit to do Inter any favors by accepting any move, and is seemingly content to collect a paycheck as it were.
So, if you buy into this rumor, the line of reasoning is simple: Antonio Conte (if you believe the papers) has his heart set on an Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku strike force next year, one that would keep Icardi on the extreme outside looking in. And given all that—the prospect of wasting another year of her husband's prime—we have to presume the Icardis would then accept a move to Rome, where he'd face no such competition and could become the brash striker Roma fans so desperately crave.
If you can set aside his €90 million valuation (per Transfermarkt) then the salaries, somewhat surprisingly, are a perfect match; both Dzeko and Icardi pulled down €4.5 million last season.
So, doing the math, assuming we take the €13 million Dzeko price tag at face value, Roma would have to conjure up another €77 million to meet that mark. Of course, market values are predicated (in part) on speculation, and with that relationship damaged beyond repair, Roma could stand to net themselves a cut-rate on a 26-year-old striker with 100 Serie A goals to his credit.
People tend to hate Icardi for a multitude of adulterous reasons, but I cannot tell a lie, this would get me very excited for what is otherwise looking like a bleak season ahead.