Edin Dzeko’s Roma career thus far has been a lesson in patience, particularly for yours truly. Even at its outset, I can’t imagine even the most ardent Dzeko fans expected him to be a saviour—he was fast approaching his 30th birthday and was discarded from Manchester City rather unceremoniously—but at the very least, it was safe to expect a Luca Toni-sort of impact; goals in bunches punctuated by mini-droughts. Dzeko was a good gamble, mind you, but never a signing meant to deliver Roma on high.
But even that subdued expectation was made to look outlandish after his first season with the club. After scoring in Roma’s unexpected 2-1 victory over Juventus in the fall, Dzeko practically fell off the map, going ten full league matches before finding the net again against Lazio in November. While he would score in the ensuing match against Bologna, Dzeko was blanked for another eight matches. Point being, in terms of his maiden Serie A season, Dzeko struggled mightily, falling from a reputable hitman to a virtual laughing stock, falling out of favor by season’s end.
With no other viable options on the table, Luciano Spalletti had no choice but to throw the full force of his confidence behind Dzeko, a move that paid off in spades. Last season, as we all know, was a tour de force for Dzeko, as he stormed his way to a 39 goal campaign (all comps), holding off Dries Mertens, Andrea Bellotti amongst others on his way to a Capocannoniere season.
While Eusebio Di Francesco’s slightly different tactics irked Dzeko early in the season—largely due to the relative distance between himself and Radja Nainggolan in EDFs tactics vs Spalletti’s—he seems to have settled back into his 2016-2017 form, bagging eight goals in as many appearances in the Serie A and Champions League thus far, all of which led to this:
With a WhoScored rating of 9.40, having been directly involved in 6 league goals, @EdDzeko is our Serie A player of the month for September pic.twitter.com/jTlM1k62PS— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 3, 2017
Much like that one test I took that one time in high school, Dzeko was only six tenths away from perfection this past month. Let that sink in. Our 2015 whipping boy is now not only one of the best strikers in the league, but one of the best players. As we’ve discussed over the past few weeks, Dzeko’s role in this offense is so much more than a simple goal scorer; his passing, his hold-up play and even his one-v-one skills are vital to everything EDFs offense can and has achieved this season.
It will be interesting to see how Dzeko ages over the next couple seasons and whether or not Roma will retain him into his mid thirties. Marco Tumminello, Edoardo Soleri and Ezequiel Ponce have all had scattered careers thus far, so putting Dzeko out to pasture is far from a clear cut decision.
So, to September’s Serie A player of the month, we say congrats! Hopefully WhoScored sends him a t-shirt or something.