With football teams trickling back into their training grounds around Europe, the NBA gearing up for individual practice sessions, the Korean Baseball league playing actual games, and the Bundesliga set to start back up in a week and a half, it almost feels like we're returning to semi-normalcy. Of course, the spike in positive cases among Italian and German teams over the past couple of days lends credence to the argument that all of this is happening too soon, and that normality may not return until a viable vaccine is developed.
The images of players slaloming through cones while wearing masks is an odd but welcomed site, but we still just don't know if any football league will be able to resume and finish their 2019-2020 seasons.
Until then, all we can really do is speculate, and since none of us are board certified epidemiologists, let's save our consternation and opinions for transfer rumors!!! (Oprah voice).
With the weekend upon is (I think, but who really knows at this point), let's take a quick whip ‘round the Romasphere and see what's what.
Pessimism emerging for Friedkin - RomaPress.net
Let’s start with the biggest story of them all—the impending purchase of AS Roma, which, according to RomaPress, may...uh...not be so impending anymore.
Solano has been on top of this story all along, and yesterday he spoke with representatives of the Friedkin Group who cast some doubt on a transaction that seemed like a sure thing just a few months ago.
The last time the parties spoke was last week in what was described as “minor contact” by both Roma and Friedkin — but no progress was made.
The sticking point, according to an executive of the Texas-based consortium, is twofold: overall valuation and the structure of the deal.
Given the collapse of the economies around the world, Friedkin is unwilling to acquire the club at previously agreed upon valuation of nearly €650 million.
Furthermore, there is also an issue with the structure of the deal, which is related to a minority shareholder fund.
In a separate Tweet from his personal account, Solano was able to put a percentage on the likelihood this deal survives the pandemic: 20 to 30%. Yikes.
Latest on Friedkin: significant slowdown.— John Solano (@Solano_56) May 7, 2020
I didn’t publish the full quotes of one of their executives, but when I asked on the percentage that a deal goes through he stated “20-30%”. https://t.co/Y5wcxgpQYZ
I've been sick of tracking this story and was a bit skeptical of the Friedkin takeover all along, so I wouldn't be terribly upset if this fell through the cracks, beyond the fact that they'd have to restart all over again with someone else. But if this sale doesn't happen, at least the word is out: Roma are for sale, and given the massive potential of the club and the brand, they should have no shortage of suitors.
Juve offer Berna for Zaniolo? | Football Italia
I put this one in here because I thought we all could use a good laugh after that Friedkin story. Hey, Juve (and I mean this with all due respect and sincerity)...get the fuck outta here with this.
Javier Pastore Contacted by Inter Miami
I’ve never heard of footmercato.net, but I like to think they stole this idea from me, since I included the possibility of Pastore going to Inter Miami in my 2021 prediction a couple weeks ago. All joking aside, there is a certain amount of logic to this move.
To call Pastore’s contract, and its €4.5 million salary, an albatross on Roma’s books is a gross understatement. What’s an even bigger and more onerous bird? A pelican? Condor? Cassowary? A pterodactyl maybe? Whatever it is, Roma needs to shed his wages from their books, and what better club to foist Pastore upon than Inter Miami, a new MLS team in need of some star power?
I’m not exactly sure how the MLS Designated Player salary system works, but El Flaco would be an upgrade for nearly any team in that league, plus this move would put Pastore back in a pink and black kit.
Make it happen, Becks!
Roma and Arsenal Remain at Odds Over Mkhitaryan’s Future
A healthy Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a god-send for a Roma squad that, at times, lacked creativity deep in attack this season. With his intuition, touch and understanding of attacking football, Mkhitaryan was a salve for Roma's sputtering attack this past winter.
So much so that Roma are interested in keeping Mkhitaryan around for awhile—if only it were that easy. With the Gunners reportedly asking for €17 million for Mkhitaryan, the gap for the Armenian midfielder could be as much as five or six million. Further complicating matters, Roma will, according to this report, ask him to reduce his wages by as much as two million.
He’s a seamless fit with Fonseca’s tactics, but if the finances don’t fall in line, we may have seen the last of Mkhitaryan.
Four Serie A Clubs Keen on Riccardi
We’ve been discussing Roma’s academy throughout the spring, and while the level of top talent seems to have fallen off in recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of depth coming from the Primavera.
Among the current set, Riccardi may have the best shot at stardom (or at least “starter-dom”), but with the club reportedly willing to sacrifice him last summer for Daniele Rugani, it’s fair to question exactly how those inside Trigoria view the young Roman.
Calciomercato reports that four Serie A clubs are interested in taking Riccardi off Roma’s hands. For a cool €8 million, Bologna Cagliari, Torino and Sassuolo could land the 19-year-old play-maker.
If that is indeed the case, let’s hope Roma at least secure a buy-back option. At this point, he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues; get him in Serie A on loan or via buy-back and see what he can do.
Roma Join the Boga Race
I'm still shocked that Goal.com has become a legitimate source of news, but props to them, and earlier this week they dropped an interesting nugget on us: Roma may be in on Jeremie Boga, the 23-year-old Sassuolo forward, on whom Chelsea hold a €15 million buy-back option.
Chelsea haven't made their intentions for Boga known, but Roma are reportedly the latest club to join the Boga queue, and with 8 goals in roughly 1,800 league minutes (include a beauty against Roma), it's no wonder--he's a talent on the rise.
That's just a smattering of the news and rumors as we head into the second weekend of May. Needless to say, the will-he-or-won't-he with Friedkin will dictate nearly everything Roma can do this summer, so let's hope for the sake of everyone involved they sort that out one way or another.
But my offer still stands, James. €1 billion for Roma, paid in one billion installments of one euro.
I'm good for it.