I don’t know if any of you watch Saturday Night Live, but a while back, one of Bill Hader’s best Weekend Update characters was Stefon, the flamboyant city correspondent who would suggest outlandish clubs for a fun night in New York City:
In that vein, let me do my best Stefon impression and tell you about Roma’s hottest prospect: Riccardo Calafiori. This kid has it all: multiple senior squad appearances, the 90’s heartthrob hair cut that seems to be making a comeback, Italy U-20 appearances, and super-agent to the stars, Mino Raiola. We recently wrote about how many of Calafiori’s Primavera companions have been receiving contract renewals, but despite long-term rumblings that a renewal for the Roman left-back was in the offing, nothing much has happened.
Now, we might have a better understanding as to why: Il Tempo is reporting that Roma and Raiola are squabbling over just how much Calafiori is worth right now. Raiola is demanding a cool €1.2 million a season for the Roman, while management is only offering €500,000 a year. Ignore the fact that Calafiori is only eighteen and even a €500,000/year contract could make him a millionaire before 2022, and that difference in demands seems pretty unbridgeable. Add in that pretty much every big club in Europe, from Manchester United to Juventus, is interested in Calafiori, and the more pessimistic Romanisti might already be packing Riccardo’s bags for him.
As per usual, though, I’m far more optimistic about Calafiori’s chances of staying in Rome. First of all, that same Il Tempo rumor says that a compromise contract at around €800,000 a year would probably please all sides; I doubt they’d include that figure if at least one negotiator hadn’t mentioned it as a likely meeting point between the Giallorossi and Raiola. Second, it sounds as if Calafiori’s family wants Raiola to give in a little bit on the salary front, which is understandable; Riccardo’s still only 18, and I doubt his family wants to deal with the headaches that would inevitably come with uprooting from Rome and moving to some other city just so their son can get a slightly fatter paycheck.
Watch this space: if Tiago Pinto wants the Romanisti to fall in love with him from his first day on the job in January, his introductory press conference will double as a contract renewal conference for Calafiori. Turning Riccardo into a Romagnoli 2.0, on the other hand, would rub a lot of people in Rome the wrong way.
Will Calafiori sign a new contract?
This poll is closed
Yes, this is just typical bargaining tactics.
No, and Roma will sell him outside of Italy.
No, and Roma will sell him to Juventus.