Totti Today is struggling to dig up rumors and salacious football affairs this summer. If it isn’t the puritanical romance that summer international football brings, then it’s the heatwave that has people doing anything other than stirring up football-related drama. And maybe some of that is owed to the secrecy of the Friedkins, if we’re scanning the latest transfer rumors.
We’re seeing some articles that are really struggling to fill in the time with transfer news this summer. We just covered the Hugo Lloris to Roma rumour this morning, so I mean no hypocrisy towards other sites, but at least ours wasn’t framed in the same manner as the Gazzetto dello Sport’s take on it.
Stream a TV Series, Browse Social Media, Write a Transfer Rumour = Profit
The Gazzetta, who passed up the opportunity to single out any individual journalist’s name on the byline, claimed that Roma were ready to throw a €4.5 million-per-season salary at 34-year old goalkeeper Lloris... because Mourinho defended him against teammate Son that one time. Well isn’t that nice? It’s reassuring to see Roma’s transfer strategy re-modeling itself based on a couple of minutes of footage off Amazon’s All Or Nothing series. But the one that takes the cake is ForzaRoma’s latest breaking report on Koopmeiners.
Thought you were done reading transfer news based on football players’ Instagram activity? Fear not, as Koopmeiners has a mate who, this week, used an emoji that could be interpreted as a commonplace Italian hand gesture, when commenting on Koopmeiners’ post, and even threw in the word ‘Bello’ on top. That’ll be the private jet booked to fly in Koopmeiners to Rome tomorrow, then.
But I’m at a serious quandary with the state of Roma transfer rumors right now. I’ve asked myself: Am I really happy that the club is moving in silence? Like Paulo Fonseca delivering a Roma team that wins the matches it should and doesn’t win the matches it shouldn’t, I thought I would be.
But now I’ve finally gotten the kind of Roma I’ve been asking for (once again) I’m not sure I don’t, in fact, miss the days of the club’s laundry getting leaked on a weekly basis. Plus I don’t know how much credit is really owed to the Friedkins for any transfer omertà right now.
It’s one thing to move in silence when it comes to board-level moves, but it’s less realistic to think that the Friedkins have any real influence over transfer deals; the kind of business that involves keeping a club, a player (sometimes two or more if it’s a swap deal), and their agents sworn to secrecy together in unison. But we do know it’s possible to turn an agent against himself and make him drum up enough noise to create a diversion away from Roma’s real targets.
That more or less describes what happened with Roma’s reported interest in hiring Maurizio Sarri, using his agent’s own need to talk up his client’s prospects against them, while the club was wrapping up the José Mourinho hire all along. But even this approach will backfire before long; there’s only so long you can use diversion tactics before it comes full circle, and the agents stop picking up the phone, just when your interest in their client’s service is now genuine. So yeah, maybe this whole omertà is overrated at worst, or short-lived at best.
What is certain is Roma keeps losing money and has sixteen players returning from loans elsewhere to Trigoria, which makes Tiago Pinto’s policy that “one player leaves before another player comes in” look like one very boring summer ahead for Roma transfer-news jockeys, unless Pinto just goes partying one summer night during Euro 2020 and then starts drunk-dialing agents to make offers for Harry Kane.
Agnese Bonfantini’s Future Winds It Back to 2013
Now, one Roma player who is sparking legitimate transfer outrage from Romanisti on the club’s social media channels is Agnese Bonfantini or, more accurately, the prospect of the club willingly losing her to Juventus next season. Do you remember what it was like to be a Roma fan before the summer of 2013 hit?
Before the sales of Erik Lamela and Mehdi Benatia the following summer—and then more and more player sales as the FFP noose tightened once Roma left their UEFA Settlement Agreement and had to reduce yearly losses from the -€30 million yearly allowance to dead breaking even—there was a time when it seemed like Roma were powerful enough to determine their destiny, but we've been traumatized repeatedly over the past eight years once that curtain was pulled back—and then got used to the feeling, fully rationalized out of survival instinct.
But Roma finds themselves in a position where they are actually in charge of their own destiny in the women’s league, at least for the foreseeable future. And yet the news that Roma might give up on the box-office potential of Bonfantini, in order to appease new coach Alessandro Spugna and his right-forward protegee Benedetta Glionna at former club Empoli, has been met with plenty of comments on Twitter asking the club, and Spugna himself, not to pass on Bonfantini.
It is very strange, as a football fan, to have the privilege of watching two parallel worlds develop in similar directions, but on very different terms.
A very different vision of football is happening in the femminile category; one that looks like the next ten years could be an arms race for controlling the flanks on the pitch in the women’s game, as opposed to the battle for half-spaces in the men’s game. One where aerially-dominating strikers can post up and basically be assured of leading their team to the top league standings in Serie A Femminile, which is likely some measure of what’s holding Agnese Bonfantini back right now.
She’s brilliant at cutting in from the flank, an expert at timing her runs, and the number of times she took on Milan players with the ball in the Coppa Italia final shows Agnese is right on the precipice of becoming a real difference-maker. But she’s always been dead-scared of headers in the air and, right now if you’re looking at the star quality of Juventus striker Cristiana Girelli, that looks like the most direct route to money, power, and becoming the icon of Italian football in the women’s game.