With 35 articles published between September 13th and 20th, last week was a banner week for CdT. Fueled by our U-23 countdown, our season previews, our magnificent three-part look into Gasperini's influence on Serie A, the Hellas Verona coverage and, of course, the intertwined futures of Edin Dzeko and Arkadiusz Milik, last week was undoubtedly the busiest week in site history, so thanks for sticking with us through that madness.
Don't expect a five article per day clip this week, but the news is no less confusing and chaotic, so let's take a quick spin through the Romaverse.
Max Allegri to Coach Roma?
What started as an off-hand comment on Dancing with the Stars has suddenly become, not a full-fledged rumor, but let's say an intriguing possibility. The six-time Scudetto winning manager was asked last week on Italy's version of Dancing with the Stars if he was coming to Rome and his response was a rather cheeky “we'll see.”
In and of itself that means nothing, but it's taken on a life of its own since then, to the point where odds makers have pipped Allegri to Roma's bench ahead of options like PSG and Manchester United.
Allegri sides aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing, but you can't argue with his record—here comes the but—BUT why would Roma make this move now? I'll grant you that it’d be better to change managers in week two than week twelve, but you know what's even better? Changing managers during the off-season.
We'll keep tabs on this one, but even the most optimistic Roma fans can't expect a victory over Juventus this weekend, so I'm not sure an 0-2 start would be as damning as it might seem for Paulo Fonseca.
Okay, What is Going on with Milik?
In our editorial queue right now sits a multi-thousand word treatise comparing Edin Dzeko to his would-be replacement, Arkadiusz Milik—and it's not even done yet. After spending a few hours working on it, I hit pause just in case the move collapsed. Truth be told, I was just exhausted and my eyes were geeked from my biannual eye exam, but something told me to pump the brakes.
Late last week, with Milik taking the first part of his medical and Roma and Napoli agreeing on the framework of a deal—not to mention Dzeko having a contract lined up with Juve—it seemed like these deals would fall into place by Monday, but here we are and we're no closer to completion than we were a week ago.
Dang, ADL is more vindictive than Sallie Mae. https://t.co/U0Ys9YFecC— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) September 19, 2020
With Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis harassing Milik over some personal licensing fines like a student loan debt collector chasing a younger version of me, the deal has been stalled for a couple of days now, to the point where Roma had to issue a statement specifically saying that the delay wasn't caused by any medical issues.
After suffering through an opening round match with no striker, Roma reportedly sought some relief from Napoli, requesting a €5 million discount on the Milik deal and/or an altered loan + purchase structure.
Things have gotten so bleak that Juventus are reportedly lining up alternatives to Edin Dzeko, including their former player Alvaro Morata, while both Juve and Roma are reportedly interested in Olivier Giroud. And then late last night, word broke that Roma might take a flier on Real Madrid's Luka Jovic, which one might argue they should do anyway.
In sum, this thing was a mess and remains a mess. The lesson as always: don't deal with Napoli.
Could Smalling Remain with United
We'll move from one protracted negotiation to another, though to be fair, this delay is 100% on Roma's shoulders. From day one until now, you know what Manchester United have wanted for Chris Smalling? €20 million. You know who else knows that? Guido Fienga. Despite that hard and firm asking price, Roma have concocted several different (and convoluted) loan/purchase scenarios.
We can't fault Roma for trying to find a deal, but United haven't buckled, so Roma have to either put up or shut-up. And through it all, the only real potential loser was Smalling, who desperately wants to return to Roma, yet remains in danger of holding the bag when all is said and done.
Or maybe not—Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may decide to just keep Smalling after all. Either Roma can afford Smalling or they can't, and these delays are really only hurting Smalling, which isn't fair.
Jesus and Fazio Out of Roma's Plans
While Federico Fazio's near move to Cagliari fell apart thanks to the Islanders signing Diego Godin, according to the Corriere dello Sport, Fazio has received an offer from Claudio Ranieri's Sampdoria side, though he has yet to accept the move.
Similarly, and perhaps even more cold bloodedly, Roma reportedly flat out told Juan Jesus he won't be called up this season. This may have been the case all along, but after Jesus turned down moves to Cagliari and Genoa, Fonseca has apparently decided to not pull any punches.
More power to Jesus—he's got a hell of a contract—but one would think he'd actually want to play, right?
We'll keep tabs on all this stories as they days and week progress, but we may just end up with the same lineup as last season. Not a bad thing, but that's a lot of wasted keystrokes!