Every year it seems like there is one pervasive transfer rumor in which Roma is involved. Several years ago it was the protracted #DareToDzeko campaign that brought us Edin Dzeko after months of speculation and negotiations with Manchester City, while last summer's Malcom fiasco entertained, delighted and ultimately disappointed Roma fans the world over. And while a player leaving Team A for Team B necessarily impacts both squads, in terms of finding replacements and shipping out now redundant parts, it's not that often we see three players orbiting one another, with the fate of not only three clubs in the balance but potentially as many as half a dozen players, if not more.
The intricate transfer web being weaved this summer involves Roma's Edin Dzeko, Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain and Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi, each of whom may be playing for a different club in a matter of weeks, though for wildly different reasons. While Dzeko's disassociation from Roma is probably the most amicable of these three—each side has simply run out of use for the other—the same cannot be said for Higuain and Icardi, with the pair of Argentines facing slightly messier divorces.
For Higuain, his stubborn (and somewhat admirable) refusal to accept his fate as Juve's presumptive second or third choice at forward has created an incredibly awkward scenario in which everyone but Pipito acknowledges they have no use for him. And with a perfectly acceptable alternative waiting for him, one that might be tailor made to his style of play (Roma), Higuain's intransigence has become incredibly frustrating for both Roma and Juventus, with Roma placing call after call to convince him on a capital switch, resulting in an annoying stream of rumors.
For Icardi, it's, well, this (courtesy of our friends and BWRAO)
For those of you who somehow missed it, a quick rehash of what first made Icardi quite so odious. During his days at Sampdoria, who had purchased him out of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy in 2011, he was teammates with fellow Argentine striker Maxi Lopez. At the time, Lopez was married to Nara, Towards the end of the 2012-13 season, it came out that Nara and Icardi had been having an affair. Things got ugly very quickly, with Icardi making the particularly despicable choice of parading Lopez’s three children with Nara around on his social media accounts as seemingly deliberate taunts. The two married shortly after Nara’s divorce from Lopez was finalized.
It’s baffling to think that someone in Inter’s headquarters took all that in two years later and said “Captain material!”
Icardi’s time as Inter’s skipper has not been without incident. A year after being given the armband, he released an autobiography that recounted his version of a heated exchange between himself and Inter ultras following a 3-1 away loss to Sassuolo. The self-aggrandizement of the passage was mind-blowing. He depicts himself as being greeted like a hero by his teammates when he arrived in the locker room, and brushed off the concerns of team officials who wondered if certain ultras would wait by his house to confront him. Pumping up the roughness of the neighborhood he grew up in, Icardi brushed off this fear, writing, “How many of them are there? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred? OK, record my message and let them hear it. I will bring 100 criminals from Argentina who will kill them on the spot.”
Needless to say, that's not a wrinkle easily ironed out, and with a new, high profile, no-nonsense manager in tow, Inter has even less patience for Icardi's adolescent tendencies, leaving Wanda no choice but to find a suitable location for her husband's talents and ego.
All of which brings us to a handful of updates that have trickled out over the past week. First there was Wanda's trip to Rome, which then subsequently fueled rumors of a meeting between her, Icardi's lawyer and Roma reps, where they were presumably discussing the possibility of Icardi wearing Roma red and yellow.
This report has since been buoyed by rumors that Inter are prepared to launch another bid for Dzeko (believed to be in the €15 million range), as well as the nugget dropped this morning by La Repubblica (link via Football Italia) that claims Roma are attempting to pry Icardi from Inter by offering Edin Dzeko plus €30 million for Icardi. These reports become even more intriguing when you consider that Inter club President Steven Zhang all but gave Icardi the kiss of death when speaking to the Corriere della Sera, telling them they will find a good solution for him and that there is no turning back.
All of which to say, this thing is a mess, one that has Roma in an awkward spot to boot. The Dzeko-Roma problem is easy to solve since they both want out, but with Higuain refusing to move to Roma, Gianluca Petrachi is quite rightly exploring all his Dzeko to Inter options, including leveraging Inter's weakening stance with Icardi to get the Argentine at a somewhat cut rate by including Dzeko as a €20 million make weight.
And that we've made it this far without even discussing the Romelu Lukaku variable is amazing, but like we said, this is a mess; one which they have to sort out in, like, three weeks.
Never a dull moment this time of year, right?