Edin Dzeko's ability to pluck a ball out of the air like so much low hanging fruit from a tree was the difference in Roma's midweek match against Sampdoria. Without Dzeko's deft touch and clinical finishing, Roma would walked away one-nil losers in their first Serie A match since March. In some ways, that match was a microcosm of Dzeko's entire career: he did all the little things managers need of strikers, missed an early chance or two and then BAM! he does something miraculous to pull Roma’s feet from the fire.
It was an amazing performance from a man who will very likely end his Roma career as the club's second all-time leading scorer. Think about that for a moment. Think back to that first season. Think back to that miss and Maicon's reaction. Think back to the Edin Cieco headlines and memes that made the rounds during Dzeko's frustrating first season in Rome. The fact that he prevailed and carved out a long career with Roma is a feat in and of itself, but the man is destined for a place in the club's Hall of Fame and could finish his career second only to Francesco Totti on Roma's scoring charts.
Despite all that and despite his midweek heroics, nothing is ever settled for Dzeko. Case in point: he's the subject of two completely contrasting rumors as we head into the weekend. On the positive end of the spectrum, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Roma are so keen to wring every last drop out of Dzeko that they're willing to extend his contract another year—through the 2023 season when Dzeko will be 37-years-old. Dzeko is already signed through 2022, so another year wouldn't really alter Roma's plans that much and, as he's showing us right now, he's not done yet. Not even close.
On the flip side, Il Tempo gives us word that Inter Milan's interest in Dzeko has not abated. With Lautaro Martinez possibly heading to Spain this summer, Inter still view Dzeko as an ideal replacement for Antonio Conte's side. According to Il Tempo, some “intermediaries” are working to bring Dzeko to Inter—both as a replacement for Martinez and to provide salary relief for Roma—and have suggested another complicated swap for Roma to find their new striker.
This rumor holds that, once Dzeko were offloaded to Inter, Roma would then sell and/or swap Cengiz Ünder to Napoli for Arkadiusz Milik, Napoli's 26-year-old striker. While that's all well and good (he'd be a near like for like replacement for Dzeko), he's becoming an increasingly hot option on the transfer market and may prefer a move to a larger club.
In some ways, I'm excited for Dzeko's Roma career to end because I can't wait to unpack it and dive into all the controversies and nuances of his time in the capital, but if his performance against Sampdoria proved anything, it's that he's indispensable for Roma—there is no one else on this roster who can fill his shoes.
Despite Dzeko's importance to Roma and his continued excellence, the club has to keep an eye on the future; there will come a day when they can no longer rely on Dzeko. The real question haunting Roma is when to face that future. If you believe the Gazzetta, they're content on letting Dzeko ride off into the sunset, but if Il Tempo is correct, they may be conspiring to create a new future already.
Nothing is ever simple with Edin Dzeko and Roma. Nothing.