Transfer rumors, at times the bane of our existence, will now be our savior. With the world turned upside down by the Coronavirus, our ability to use sports as a distraction has effectively been rendered moot. With no matches, there is nothing to celebrate and nothing to dissect; one can only discuss scheduling changes so much. But that's the beauty of transfer rumors; logic and timing seldom prevails anyway.
Earlier in the week, we sort of created our own transfer rumor, the prospect of Arkadiusz Milik—with his spot at Napoli likely in jeopardy—making the switch to Roma. Without any substantiation from either part, we connected the logical dots. Milik may soon be out of a job and Roma need a striker to augment and eventually replace Edin Dzeko. Boom! Transfer rumor.
We'll have to wait and see if Gianluca Petrachi connects those same dots, but in the meantime it looks like he's dealing with a pair of more familiar faces. Last weekend, our colleagues at We Ain't Got No History (our Chelsea site), passed along a report from the Gazzetta dello Sport that indicated Roma and Chelsea are working on an extension of Davide Zappacosta's loan from the London club.
Zappacosta, 27-years-old, returned to Serie A with Roma last summer, joining on an initial 12-month loan. Unfortunately for Zappacosta, his bid to resurrect his career lasted...12 minutes. After making his debut as a second half sub against Genoa in August (in which he played the final 12 minutes), Zappacosta remained second choice to Alessandro Florenzi and his hopes for stealing the job from his countryman were completely dashed on October 4th when he tore his ACL in training.
As our Chelsea friends point out, injury or not, Zappacosta has no role with the Blues thanks to the rise of Reece James and the veteran presence of César Azpilicueta. Accordingly, the two clubs are reportedly working on a one-year extension of Zappacosta's loan. With Roma's right-back spot completely up in the air, Zappacosta would seem to have as good a chance as anyone at claiming the spot.
Meanwhile in China, Stephan El Shaaraawy is reportedly attempting once again to return to Roma, less than a year after leaving for Shanghai Shenhua. If this sounds familiar, it should. Back in January, SES reportedly floated the notion of returning to Roma during the winter transfer window.
It wasn't on the cards as Roma remained pretty quiet during the winter window, but according to the Corriere dello Sport, El Shaarawy is one again letting it be known he wants to return to the capital, even going so far as to renounce his current contract and/or salary.
El Shaarawy is still incredibly just 27-years-old and was fresh off his best season with Roma, so consider me fully on-board with this move.
Bringing back El Shaaraway and Zappacosta, two experienced players in their physical primes, is exactly the sort of move Roma should be making to augment their core of U-23 players.
We have no idea when the transfer window will open, but these seem like no-brainers to me: El Shaarawy has proven he can succeed in Fonseca-style tactics, while another loan of Zappacosta is a low-risk/high reward move.