Roma's summer long search for a striker just took a surprising and some would say completely unexpected twist. Rather than going whole hog for Mauro Icardi or signing any of the myriad names we've discussed as second (or third) options this summer, the Giallorossi have decided to go a different route—they've extend Edin Dzeko's contract.
According to the club, Dzeko has signed a new deal that will keep him in red and yellow through June 2022, tacking on an additional two-years to his current deal, which was set to expire at the end of this season, Dzeko's fifth with the club. No financial terms were released by the club, though it is rumored his salary will remain the same, €4.5 million net.
Upon signing his new deal, Dzeko reflected on the somewhat chaotic nature of the rumor cycle:
Over the last few weeks I have realised just how much the club wanted me to stay,” Dzeko said.
My conversations with the board, the work we’ve been doing with the coach, the relationship with my teammates and the love of the fans has all made me realise once again what I had already learned during these four years – that Rome is my home.
Here there is everything we need to win something and I am delighted to be able to stay here even longer.
On his third contract extension of the week, CEO Guido Fienga hinted that this was a move long in the works:
Before last season even finished we had reached a decision: Edin would be one of the pillars we would build our new side around,
Over the last few months nothing has changed. We are delighted that Edin recognises that if players want to win then Roma is the right place to be.
I've been covering this club for almost a decade now, and I have to say this is one of the most unexpected developments I've ever witnessed. For weeks, if not months, we speculated that Dzeko not only had his heart set on Inter Milan but that he'd long since negotiated personal terms with Roma's rival to the north, making his move all but a formality.
Of course, given the nature of things this summer, Dzeko's pre-destined move to the San Siro was bogged down in the on-again/off-again Mauro Icardi to Roma saga, with most in the media assuming the two clubs were haggling how much cash the Giallorossi would have to send along with Dzeko to obtain the mercurial Argentine striker.
Well, we can safely say those stories are dead. Dzeko will remain with Roma for two more seasons, very likely the end of his career in a major European league, while just this morning speculation ran rampant that Icardi would now stay and fight for his place behind, and possibly alongside, Romelu Lukaku.
For my part, I don't hate this deal as much as I thought I would. All along I've maintained that Roma would be wise to part ways with Dzeko a year too soon than a year too late, but given their complete lack of internal options and their inability to land a white whale on the open market, two more years of Dzeko should give them enough stasis while they search for their long-term solution, be it a maturing Zan Celar or someone else entirely.
That isn't to say this pact is perfect—Dzeko's increasingly tipping the scales towards the bad end of the volume shooter spectrum—but rather, like so many other things, it's really all Roma could do at the moment. Though, it must be said, keeping him as the top earner sours this deal a bit, but Dzeko likely had all the bargaining power given his bond with Inter and his pending Bosman status.
Still, this was probably the last thing I thought would come from this whole striker saga.