No matter how or when it ends, I'm not sure we'll ever see a Roma career quite like Edin Dzeko's. From the nearly unprecedented (at the time) pursuit of Dzeko in the summer of 2015 (remember our #DaretoDzeko campaign) to his flop of a debut season, which he quickly followed up with a capocannoniere performance the following year, to his stunning Champions League goal against Chelsea to all the high, lows and missed sitters in-between, Dzeko has had a Roma career unlike any other.
And that career nearly took another unexpected twist this summer, when Dzeko was nearly sold to Italian oligarchs Juventus, only to see that move scuppered by Roma's inability to land Arkadiusz Milik from Napoli, or, to put it more accurately, Aurelio De Laurentiis’ complete and utter mishandling of the situation—Milik has since been left off Napoli's European and domestic squad lists.
Either way, with five enthralling yet still incredibly frustrating seasons under his belt, Dzeko's career nearly ended in the most Roma way possible: sitting on the bench waiting for his move to Juve to materialize while he watched his Roma teammates struggle to score in his absence.
It's not everyday a club's fourth all-time leading scorer sits on the bench perfectly healthy while he waits for his employers to simultaneously complete two separate transactions with two of their most bitter rivals. But that's 2020 and that's Roma.
Considering all the peaks and valleys he's seen over the past five years, should we really be shocked that Dzeko, mere weeks after nearly leaving the club, is now considering extending his stay?
According to the CdS, Roma are considering extending Dzeko's contract, which is currently set to expire in June 2022, by an additional year or two. In addition to remaining a fairly reliable striker (19 goals and 8 assists between the league and Europe last term), a contract extension would enable the club to spread out Dzeko's onerous salary (€5 million + bonuses) over a longer-term; a tactic they've used multiple times in recent years.
While we can never really completely write off a Dzeko transfer—he's been close the past three summers after all—inking the 34-year-old striker through 2023 when he'll be 37-years-old (or possibly even 2024 when he'll be 38) all but ensures the Bosnian Batistuta will see out his playing days in a Roma shirt.
From a financial perspective, it certainly makes sense to defray his salary over multiple seasons, but one still has to worry about the lack of a succession plan for Roma's post-Dzeko days. Do the club see something in new acquisition Borja Mayoral that the rest of Europe doesn't? Will they still make a play for Milik in the winter or next summer? Would it really make sense to have a 37-year-old Dzeko still making north of €3 or possibly even €4 million? (You can only spread out his salary so far, he'll still command one of the top wages on the club).
No matter what happens with this extension, Roma's future at striker is sure to be a topic of discussion over the next couple of transfer windows, but Dzeko figures to remain a productive striker over the next two seasons, so this move should buy them some additional time to find the next Dzeko.
The manner in which you digest this news likely depends on how you view Roma's latest project: are they close to competing or should they fully commit to a rebuild? Keeping a 37 or 38-year-old striker on the rolls really only squares with one of those approaches.
So, what do we think: is this a shrewd move or would Roma be making a mistake punting their future at striker down the road a year or two?