Roma got to officially unveiling new midfielder Amadou Diawara today, and there was awkwardness abound. Whether Diawara just doesn’t like pressers in general or had his mind on the next training session is anyone’s guess. This was as brief a talk as you’ll ever find for a new signing being presented to the media.
The floor opened to Diawara offering non-answers, mixed in with some of the soundbites we’ve heard from him about being wanted by Fonseca personally, and Diawara’s idolatry of Yaya Toure. Evidently the midfielder is waiting for Steven Nzonzi to leave so Diawara can assume Toure’s historical #42 jersey in Rome.
For now, Diawara held a replica shirt aloft with year 2024 on the back. And that’ll have to do, along with Diawara’s challenge to outdo the previous Roma midfield as the Guinean’s very last thought. Perhaps some of the brevity of this presser was owed to the fact Gianluca Petrachi didn’t show up.
The Roma sporting director left it to his number 2, Morgan De Sanctis, to make the introductions. The club and player wanted to get it across that Amadou Diawara wasn’t just a makeweight in the Manolas deal, instead wanted for the Giallorossi shirt at all costs.
Morgan De Sanctis on Diawara’s signing:
“He’s a player that’s been in Italy his whole career, so you know him. We’re very happy he’s come here. He’s a young player, a modern complete midfielder tied to his technical quality.
Above all, he has a physical impact and a read of the game that, in our opinion of the team, was missing from our midfield. So we’re convinced he can contribute to our team in a big way.
On top of that, the transfer numbers are testimony to all of this because he’s a player Roma wanted strongly. I leave it to you all to ask the kid what you need to know.”
Diawara on playing in a midfield duo or trio:
“I’m definitely more used to playing in a midfield three. But I adapt to either one, and what’s important is carrying out what the coach asks of you and helping the team.”
Diawara on what kind of shape he’s in right now:
“I cut short the holidays to come back quicker. First off to get to know my teammates quicker, and the coach. But second, because it’ll help me not to lose the shape I was in when playing the African Cup.
Right now I’m in good shape. I think I’m already ready to perform for the coach today.”
Diawara on the team’s minimum goal for the season:
“The minimum objective is to qualify for the Champions League. Paulo assured me of that. We have to give everything to make the Champions League at the very least.”
Diawara on the difference between Roma and Napoli’s standing:
“They’re both great teams but I think we can put together a great season.”
Diawara on whether Roma is a stepping stone club:
“I’ve come here motivated. I think I’ve come to a very big club and I won’t hold back anything. I think only of giving my all to help the team get to where it deserves to be.”
Diawara on why he went to Napoli in 2016 instead of Roma:
“That was God’s will. The important thing is that now I’m here, I’m motivated and I want to do well here and that’s all.”
Diawara on Fonseca phoning him to come to Rome:
“Looking at the teams he’s coached before, I know he always has strong midfields. Midfielders are important for him because he always wants to play the ball to feet.
When he gave me a phone call, that moved me. I’m honoured to be coach by him.”
Diawara on whether Roma would have signed him at all costs:
“Yes, I think so. Whether Manolas was going to Napoli or not, the coach wanted me here. Roma wanted me a lot. I thank the club a lot for their confidence, the coach, the sporting director, everyone. I hope to repay this faith to the maximum.”
Diawara on what the fans can look forward to:
“I’ve already seen how the Olimpico is like from the other side. I saw the fans fired up and that really left an impression on me. To them, I can only say I’ll give everything in every training session and every match to give them satisfaction.”
Diawara on comparisons to N’Golo Kante and Yaya Toure:
“(laughs) I don’t know about that. Kante is a player at the very top of the game so I can’t tell myself I play like him.
But my idol, who I always loved watching play, has always been Yaya Toure. So while the others are all top players, I see myself more in Yaya Toure than any other player.”
Diawara on the hard task of replacing the De Rossi-Strootman-Nainggolan era:
“Yes, those are truly strong players. Strootman and Nainggolan are players I’ve seen up close as their opponent. They put me in a lot of difficulty.
I’m still young and I hope to give the best of myself in every training session, every game to achieve what they did here. And then why not do even better?”