We’re going to try something new here at Chiesa di Totti: a week-in-review article, where we take some of the stories that might have slipped through the cracks or simply weren’t big enough for a full-fledged article on the site and provide a thoughtful take on what that snippet of news means for Roma. Since I’m spearheading this initiative, bren has decided that it’s going to be called Miotto’s Musings, which I admit does have a certain ring to it. I’m going to try to keep that alliterative array running as long as I can with each snippet I write about, too, but don’t hold me to that too strictly.
Without further ado...
Along with his fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Villar, Borja Mayoral has been Roma’s surprise of the season. Including his brace against Spezia on Saturday, he has now tallied eight goals and five assists in all competitions, equalling Edin Džeko’s goal tally to date. Following Roma’s 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday, Mayoral had this to say to Sky Sport:
This was an incredible result. It was very important to the club given what’s going on. We fought and we won, that’s the important thing...
When Mayoral was asked if he’s ready to be a regular starter, here was his response:
I am ready to help the team. Today I scored two goals, but last game I got it wrong. It’s the life of an attacker, it’s important for us and for the Roma fans.
Miotto’s Musing: There’s a reason Sky asked Mayoral if he was ready to be a regular starter: he looks like one on the pitch. When Mayoral plays and the team clicks, you get the sense that what is on display is truly Fonsecaball, while Edin Džeko’s more static style of play is Fonseca’s attempt to make use of an incredibly talented player despite him not fitting 100 percent into his tactics.
Regardless of how you feel about Mayoral someday becoming Roma’s starting striker, that 15 million option to buy must be looking cheaper and cheaper to Tiago Pinto by the day. I would be surprised at this point if Mayoral doesn’t become a full-time Roma player sooner rather than later, and even if he isn’t the long-term replacement for Edin Džeko that Roma has seemingly been searching for for years, having a rotational-level striker of his caliber in the squad can only be a good thing for a club looking to regularly make the Champions League.
Dramatic Džeko Shown the Door?
I think I speak for the majority of the Roma faithful when I say I was happy to see Roma pull out a win against Spezia on Saturday after an absolutely dreadful Coppa flameout against that same side earlier in the week. Despite that, the absence of Edin Džeko from the pitch hung over the Stadio Olimpico like a lead balloon, with some reports suggesting that a locker room tiff had resulted in the Bosnian’s absence instead of injury. Further, Corriere Dello Sport said that Džeko’s absence was a sign that he was not long for the club.
Everyone from Paulo Fonseca to Lorenzo Pellegrini kept mum on the situation with Džeko, and the vice-captain sounded like a press officer straight out of Washington, D.C. when he responded to a question about Džeko pre-match with “Winning solves any problems, if there are any.” Post-match, though, the rumors became mixed, with the Corriere Dello Sport now suggesting that the Bosnian Diamond might actually stay in Rome, and that the club might be the one looking to move on, or at least strip Džeko of the captaincy.
Miotto’s Musing: Seemingly every six months there are a flurry of rumors suggesting the Bosnian is not long for the Seven Hills of Rome, and whether it’s Juventus, Inter, or some other club outside of Serie A, that transfer always seems to be inches away from occurring before it inevitably doesn’t. This time, Džeko might leave! Or he might not. To suggest I know anything other than that would be to lie to you, dear reader, and I think we’ve built up a good enough rapport over my time writing the highly celebrated, never duplicated Miotto’s Musings to know that I’d never lie to you.
Given that... call me crazy, but even before Fonseca and Džeko had a falling out, I already felt as if Džeko’s time in Rome might be drawing to a close. The Bosnian has climbed nearly as far as possible on the club’s all-time goalscoring charts, it doesn’t seem as if a trophy is in the cards for this season (barring a Europa League victory), and his years of being able to be the focal point of a big club’s attack are probably drawing to a close. Perhaps Džeko moves away from Rome this month, allowing for Borja Mayoral, Stephan El Shaarawy, and maybe even Nicolò Zaniolo to become Roma’s main striker. Even if he doesn’t leave now, I think Roma has reached its ceiling with Džeko as their star attacker and captain.
Remember Davide Santon? Just barely? Honestly, I’m in a similar boat, as the least-impressive-part-of-the-Radja-Nainggolan-transfer hasn’t exactly set the world on fire during his time in Rome. This season, he’s only logged 248 minutes in 4 appearances, and now Il Tempo is reporting that he may be the first departure of the Tiago Pinto era in Rome. His current suitor is Sampdoria, who certainly are in need of additional depth at fullback.
Miotto’s Musing: The nearly-completed incoming transfer of Bryan Reynolds from Dallas FC meant that a move like this was almost definitely on the cards. There just aren’t enough minutes, even with regular rotation, to split between Rick Karsdorp, Bruno Peres, Reynolds, and Santon, and out of all of them, Santon is obviously the weakest link. At his best, Santon was a serviceable backup for the Giallorossi; at his worst, he made some rough errors on the pitch and made me actually want pre-renaissance Karsdorp back in the fold. If this is the end of the road for Santon in a Roma kit, so long, and thanks for your service.
Feel free to tell us what you think of this new kind of article, and if you have any burning questions you want answered by the CdT squad, put them in the comments here! I’ll happily mention any stories you think deserve a shout in next week’s Miotto’s Musings.