A look at.... The Forwards

With the 2019-2020 season upon us and with the window nearly shut, I thought I'd do a comprehensive dive into everyone on Roma's books at the senior men's level right now. Because I'm an egomaniac, you all get to see this via a FanPost rather than as an absurdly long comment as is my wont. (Apologies!) I'll also look into Roma's major needs as I see them, and provide recommendations as to what I believe Roma should do. In this entire analysis, I'll refer to Fonseca's tactics as outlined in this article by dallagente, with my own interpretation of what that means guided by Fonseca's stated (or rumored) preferences. One final note before we dive into it, all players contracted to Roma are courtesy of, and all player stats, prices, etc are courtesy of Transfermarkt. (Side note, I WEEP for something like Spotrac's NFL coverage for all of world football).

With that, let's get to it! All players will have a flash categorization of Starter, Rotation/Backup, Loan, or Sell. Where necessary I'll expand on my decision (which I imagine will be fairly often). All players will also have relevant stats (all comps) represented as a slash line, alongside age, matches played last season, and Transfermarkt value.

(This is absolutely a takeoff on our excellent writers' takes typically done on our positions). This will also be a series, since these are turning out longer than I thought.

The Forwards (Goals/Assists/minutes per goal)

Cengiz Under (RW) -- 22 y/o, 33 matches, 6/11/315, 35M euros -- STARTER

No surprises here. 22 years old and lighting up Serie A in his debut season, Under struggled with injuries last season and still posted a fairly respectable set of statistics. If he can marry his explosive pace and rocket of a foot with slightly better decision making, in my eyes he'll easily qualify as an elite winger by the age of 25. We probably can't keep him long term with the traditional big clubs likely to come sniffing, but he loves the city and we love him, so the romance can keep going for another year.

Diego Perotti (LW) -- 31 y/o, 15 matches, 5/1/162, 12M euros -- ROTATION

This one makes me sad. If only the management had seen fit to sell Perotti instead of El Shaarawy, but nonetheless here we are. Viewed objectively, Perotti had an aggressively unspectacular season. It wasn't a BAD season by any stretch, but it also wasn't a particularly good one. Combine this with advancing age, and Perotti isn't the long term answer of the future. I'd prefer to have SES here to platoon the left wing, but that's life. Perotti's a fine rotational option until we sell him or he retires.

Edin Dzeko

*looks around nervously*

*zips up armor*

*proceeds cautiously*

Edin Dzeko (ST) -- 33 y/o, 40 matches, 14/11/226, 14M euros -- STARTER

The stats are slightly misleading here, as Dzeko had just 9 goals and 7 assists in the league last year. If we're getting Champions League Dzeko on the regular, this extension and my personal faith in Dzeko are smart things. In addition, from preseason it's looked like Fonseca's kind of striker, raising the odds of a career season from him. If we get the league version of Dzeko, it's probably a sign he's declining and that that extension was really, really dumb. Either way, LET THE FIRES OF THE DZEKO-WARS RAGE FOREVERMORE!

Patrik Schick (ST?) -- 23 y/o, 32 matches, 5/3/349, 15M euros -- SELL SELL SELL (or at least LOAN)

Some things that surprised me abut this stat line: Schick is only 23 and got a surprising amount of run in the league. That said, his ROI is abysmal, especially for a striker. Transfermarkt routinely undervalues players, but the 15M euro valuation represents almost a third of what we paid for the guy, so that stings a little too. For me personally, the fates of Schick and Defrel are intertwined, with the winner staying at Roma to be Dzeko's backup (yay?) and the loser having to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Personally? I don't want to give up on Schick -- he's only 23, and clearly looks to be suffering from lack of confidence -- perhaps a loan move somewhere else so he can kill it for a few months might be in order. At some point though, we will have to cut our losses, and maybe the smart move is to do it before his value drops any further. At any rate, he needs to get out of Rome for the sake of his career.

Justin Kluivert (LW) -- 20 y/o, 35 matches, 2/8/872, 20M euros -- STARTER

Holy crap, Kluivert's younger than me? I need to go re-evaluate my life, brb.

At any rate, Kluivert's stats should have the Roma verse roaring for his head -- except for the fact he's 20 years old. I agree that Kluivert is electric and a game changer, and I definitely agree that he should stay and grow here, but these stats are NOT GOOD in a vacuum. For all we're going to praise Kluivert (and I hope and plan that it's very often), he needs to improve his end product substantially. This is where platooning with El Shaarawy would have been a good idea, with El Shaarawy acting as a more experienced winger with end product while we throw Kluivert on to change a game. Ah well, lemons and lemonade.

Nicolo Zaniolo (SS/CAM) -- 20 y/o, 36 matches, 6/2/376, 40M euros -- KEEP KEEP KEEP STARTER DUH

Goddammit, I need to go re-evaluate my life again.

Cheating here a little since the website has him as a midfielder, I see Zaniolo's best position as a second striker (for you fancy Italians, is this secunda punta? Please advise.). Il Bimbo d'Oro Pt 2 has the ability to play basically anywhere along the front line, but I think his best role would be playing off of Dzeko as a second striker. With a nose for goal and a physique built for modern football, Zaniolo has the world at his feet and Roma should do everything humanly possible to keep him.

Gregoire Defrel (ST) -- 28 y/o, 39 matches, 12/2/210, 12M euros -- KEEP as BACKUP

I'm not entirely sure where Transfermarkt gets their appearance numbers from or if I'm just blind as a bat, but these stats provide a compelling case for Defrel to be vice-Dzeko, at least for a year. His numbers are good (his goals/min is actually better than Dzeko's), so it's just a matter of if he can play Fonseca's football. Like I said earlier, eventually it's gonna be him or Schick.

Alright! It's 1100 words in already and we're only done with the forwards! (Dear god). I'm going to cut it short here and pick it up next time with the Midfield! (I'll get to transfers fairly quickly as well, I swear). Thank you all for tuning in!

Current Financial Balance from Transfers: +15M euros (assuming Schick sale).

PS: @CdT Writer Crew, how the hell do you guys churn these out so fast at such high quality? What's your secret?