With the actual Serie A season now in the books and the resumption of European play a few days away, calcio fans are in a bit of an awkward spot right now. Some clubs can take stock of the season gone by and look forward to a new set of 38 matches starting at some point in September, but for other clubs like Roma, Juventus and Napoli, the looming European matches are almost like a post-season tournament, giving this an NFL-style playoff atmosphere.
But while we wait for Roma's fixture against Sevilla, the Romaverse marches on. Here are a few of the highlights to get your Monday started.
Smalling Asks United for Roma Deal
Outside of Roma's first victory away to Juventus since 2011, the other story of the weekend was Chris Smalling's Roma swansong. With Roma and Manchester United unable to reach a deal for the permanent transfer of the 30-year-old central defender, Smalling's one-year loan came to an official end following Saturday's victory over Juve.
For weeks now (if not months), we've watched these negotiations with an eagle eye as the clubs traded figures, reached a compromised deal, reached a permanent deal, reached a temporary deal with a Europa League penalty should Smalling play against United, but none of these micro updates crossed over to reality.
And now, according to the Daily Star, Smalling will reportedly ask Manchester United, in no uncertain terms, to reach an agreement with Roma for a permanent transfer.
This sounds great, but if that's all it took for United to relent, it would have happened by now. Unless Smalling is an iron fisted negotiator, odds are this will still come down to Roma's ability to meet United's financial demands. If not, we may see the ugly site of Smalling in Inter colors.
LA Galaxy Interested in Pastore?
During an interview with Tuttomercato, LA Galaxy Director of Sport Guillermo Schelotto admitted he'd be interested in bringing Pastore to the City of Angels, joining Inter Miami as one of two MLS clubs to express or intimate interest in Pastore. The problem, as far as LA are concerned, is that the Galaxy already have a handful of Designated Players, those whose contracts are not beholden to the usual MLS salary rules: Jonathan Dos Santos, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Cristian Pavon.
Roma clearly have no real use for Pastore, so you have to wonder where his head is at: will he push for a move to America or Argentina or will he be content to collect a paycheck sitting on the trainer's table?
Dislocated Shoulder Won't Keep Pedro From Roma
In one of the most Roma twists to have ever happened, Chelsea forward Pedro, in what was likely his final appearance for the Blues in the FA Cup final against Arsenal, separated his shoulder, casting his impending move to Roma in doubt. However, according to RomaPress, while the deal will be delayed while he recovers, Pedro is still expected to be the club's first official signing of the summer.
Given his age, declining production and now questionable tactical fit, the world seems to be conspiring against this move.
Roma Breaks Bond with EA Sports, Will Not Feature in FIFA 21
Following the lead of Juventus (and I suppose if we're going wayyyy back in time, Barry Bonds and Michael Jordan), AS Roma has not given EA Sports, the makers of the seminal FIFA series, permission to use the club's likeness for the upcoming FIFA 21 release. So, much like they did with Juventus, EA will rebrand AS Roma as “Roma FC”, which is probably what many in the English speaking world think the club is called anyway. (You may recall that Bonds was cast as “John Dowd” in the old MVP Baseball Series, while Jordan was in NBA Live if you knew the code—*wink, wink*)
It's not a huge story, but as a FIFA fan, all I can say is laaammmmmeeeee. I'm not sure what kind of windfall Roma received from EA anyway (or would receive from PES if this was a power move), so this all seem sort of petty.
Those are the quick hits for your Monday morning. Keep an eye on these spaces in the coming days as we begin our Serie A season review and begin to ramp up for the Europa League return.
Without AS Roma in it, will you still buy FIFA 21?
This poll is closed
PES is where it's at anyway, son.