The international break usually means the rumor mill dies down for club-related news, but because Roma is Roma and newspapers have to be sold, the rumor mill has been in full effect for the Giallorossi despite the break in the league match schedule.
In the spirit of giving CdTers more to chat about, here’s a quick look at some of the biggest stories involving I Lupi from the past several days.
Is A Cristante Renewal Nearly Complete?
Even though he’s a somewhat controversial figure among Romanisti, Bryan Cristante has never been a controversial figure with Roma managers. Every single one since he’s joined the club has sung his praises and repeatedly placed him in the starting eleven. You can quibble about why he’s maintained that role in the side, and there’s certainly a point to be made that being the “glue guy” should only take you so far.
Still, it appears that Roma’s Italo-Canadian midfielder will be set to stay at the Stadio Olimpico for several more seasons, with La Repubblica reporting that a new contract is on the way for Cristante:
Miotto’s Musing: The contract will reportedly keep Cristante and Roma tied together until 2027, while also giving him a raise to €3 million a year. That new salary will put him among the highest earners at the club, a fine reward for one of the longest-serving Roma players but one that might cause quite a firestorm in the Chiesa di Totti comments section. We’ll have more to say on this one if and when it becomes official, but I have to say I’m in favor of keeping Bryan around. He’s a consistent performer for club and country, he’s a leader in the locker room, and although he’s not a superstar by any stretch of the imagination, he’s taken on several roles for the Giallorossi without any hesitation.
That kind of player is highly valued by managers, and being highly valued by a manager is how you get a contract renewal. It’s as simple as that.
Wijnaldum, Kumbulla, and El Sha Injury Updates: They’re Still Injured
It’s been a rough season for Romanisti injuries. After an inaugural season for José Mourinho where very few players suffered major injuries, key signing Gini Wijnaldum injured himself during training before playing a Serie A minute, and Roma has now found itself without its star midfielder for several months. Wijnaldum released a video recently giving us some updates on his recovery, and it definitely makes me feel bad for the guy:
A quick update from me. The last weeks I was very emotional and sad, but I’ve learnt to accept the situation how it is and my recovery is going well. Thanks to everyone for all messages and support. It gives me power to come back as quick as possible. Hopefully see you soon. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0v8z8VPUtB— Gini Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) September 20, 2022
That’s a player who wants to be back in the saddle as soon as possible and one who wants to make some dreams come true with the Giallorossi. I hope he’s able to do it. Beyond that obvious long-term injury, though, the short-term injury bug hasn’t avoided the Giallorossi this season either, with key players like Nicolò Zaniolo, Rick Karsdorp, Tammy Abraham, Marash Kumbulla, and Stephan El Shaarawy all being sidelined for several matches during the first two months of league play.
While Zaniolo, Karsdorp, and Abraham had all returned to the pitch in some way, shape, or form prior to the international break, Kumbulla and El Sha were unable to play even one minute in Roma’s loss to Atalanta. Fortunately, Mourinho hinted that both players would be able to return to the pitch following the international break.
Miotto’s Musing: While we’ll have no confirmation of El Shaarawy or Kumbulla returning to full match fitness for quite some time, it’s still encouraging to see this Roma squad get closer to full strength. When Tiago Pinto put this squad together, he did so in a way that created more depth than the Giallorossi have had in nearly a decade. Early-season injuries destroyed a lot of that depth, but that depth has helped Roma stay afloat in a moment where they might have gone on a true losing streak in other seasons. Even if you’re not a fan of El Sha or Kumbulla, Roma needs them back, and soon. All hands need to be on deck for I Lupi as they look to fight for a spot in a wide-open Serie A top four.
Speaking of “all hands on deck,” if you believe Nicolò Schira, the Giallorossi have already lined up at least one reinforcement for the January mercato: Ola Solbakken, currently of Roma’s 2021/2022 archrival Bodø/Glimt:
Miotto’s Musing: With a salary like that, Solbakken is undoubtedly a low-risk, high-reward free agency pickup, and if I had to place a bet, I’d say that Pinto and Mourinho envision the Norwegian attacker as a long-term replacement for Stephan El Shaarawy. Even if the signing of Solbakken doesn’t result in the sale or departure of Il Faraone, though, I’ll be thrilled to see Solbakken join the Giallorossi. He’s the exact kind of depth signing you need to succeed in multiple competitions, and his being in the squad will make life significantly easier for José Mourinho when any one of Tammy Abraham, Paulo Dybala, Nicolò Zaniolo, or Andrea Belotti goes down with an injury. He’s not of their quality, but adding him to the depth chart can only be a good thing: from the moment he touches down in Rome, he’ll be hungry to show that he deserves his contract and can be destined for bigger and better things.
As with the rumors stating that Bryan Cristante’s contract renewal is a done deal, we’ll have more to say on the Solbakken signing as soon as it becomes truly official: we’ll likely have to wait quite some time for that, however, as Roma can’t register him until the start of the winter mercato. Still, it’s encouraging to see that the end of the summer mercato hasn’t put a stop to Roma’s work behind the scenes to make the club stronger and stronger.