We did it! It's the last day of May, and in a continuing theme of 2020, it was really fucking weird and kind of awful in a lot of ways. But we made it. With June one sleep away and Serie A about three weeks from their re-start, there is plenty to discuss as we head into the sixth month of this indescribable year. As we wrap up the week (or I guess start the week, since Sunday is technically the first day of the week. Funny how we just ignore that fact, isn't it?), we have the usual smattering of transfer rumors, Friedkin will he or won't hes, and some scheduling idiosyncrasies.
Alright, without further ado, here are your Sunday Stories
Football Italia passes along a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport that speculates that Manchester United might be amenable to an extension of Chris Smalling's loan at Roma. Due to the pandemic, the two sides had to discuss extending his loan beyond June 30th anyway, but given the complete lack of traction in the sale negotiations, the Gazzetta reasons that the two clubs might just hash out an extended loan.
With Smalling a few months shy of his 31st birthday, Roma are still balking at his lowered €20 million price tag and could simply extend his loan with United. With so much financial uncertainty in the air, not to mention the fact that Smalling is under contract through 2022, the presumption is that an additional loan, one for which Roma pays €4 million (one million more than this year's) still makes financial sense for United.
This is obviously our dream scenario, as it would enable Roma to retain a top defender at minimal cost and would conceivably give them another year to whittle down his final price.
Keep your fingers crossed.
We'll turn back to Football Italia again for this one. Federico Fazio, Roma's 33-year-old central defender and maybe a distant cousin of mine, has exceeded every expectation we had when he was signed from Spurs in 2017. But with Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling entrenched ahead of him, Fazio has become (at best) Roma's third-choice defender; a damn good one, but still third-choice.
Returning to the Argentinian league is the typical path for players Fazio's age, but he's been playing in Europe for over a decade, so a return to his homeland may not be as natural as it may seem.
Besides, if he's going home, we'd prefer Boca Juniors.
Friedkin Sale Not Dead Yet
Despite stories pointing toward the contrary, RomaPress assures us all that the Friedkin negotiations remain in tact. There was some scuttle late last week that Friedkin decreased his offer substantially, leading many to speculate that James Pallotta was walking away from the deal, but Solano, who has been on top of this all along, assures us there is still hope.
At this point, another year in limbo could be disastrous for the long-term health of the club, so let's hope for a resolution of some sort; be it a sale or a new cash injection for Pallotta.
Going along with that story, RomaNews (when you type ‘R’ into your browser, which site pops up first?) outlines some of the hurdles facing Roma this summer. First, there is the ambiguity surrounding the Friedkin takeover, then there is the small matter of €278.5 million in debt, the loss of revenues from the pandemic and the sizeable m.o. for club CEO Guido Fienga that reportedly includes trimming the wage bill, reducing agents fees, and installing a €3 million salary cap for new signings.
Roma have always touted a Moneyball approach, but now they may have no choice.
Il Romanista outlines the proposed matchday schedules for the league's re-start, which will attempt to jam 124 matches into only 44 days. With the stifling summer heat looming, the league will look to avoid mid-day matches.
A typical matchday would look something like this (all times CET):
- Saturday and Sunday matches at 3 PM, 5 PM, three matches at 7:30 PM and one at 9:45 PM
- Mondays off
- Tuesday: three matches at 7:30 PM and one at 9:45 PM
- Thursday: one or two matches at 7:30 PM and one more at 9:45 PM
CdT Week in Review
Much like they might do with Smalling, Roma could luck out and simply renew Mkhitaryan's loan with Arsenal for another year.
At this point, we've seen nearly every permutation to the Moise Kean to Roma rumor, including a swap of electric winger, Cengiz Ünder.
Stories that Made us Cry
Dallagente argues that diversity should speak for itself in this excellent piece.