Let’s take a break from the transfer rumors and talk about one of Roma’s own, Alessandro Florenzi. Forever the little brother to Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, it was long assumed that Florenzi would follow in their footsteps, eschewing the greener pastures of Europe to remain with his boyhood club. And while Ale has never made any protestations about leaving, it hasn’t stopped his name from being connected with everyone from Chelsea to Inter Milan.
For Florenzi, his role is much like Totti and De Rossi before him, turning down more money and a greater shot at glory to become a veritable martyr for his people, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Still, loyalty cuts both ways and you only get one chance at life (as far as we know), so you have to make hay while the sun shines, or in modern parlance: get that paper, son.
Whether it was at his behest or simply divine inspiration from his agent, Florenzi was gunning for a €4 million salary during recent contract negotiations, a sum that would make him among the club’s highest paid players. Based on the paucity of updates we’ve seen over the past few months, it’s safe to assume the club balked at that asking price, leading to recent speculation that Florenzi might bolt for Chelsea or Inter after all.
You’ll just have to give me a second while I envision the hell that would rain down upon Monchi if he let Florenzi follow Nainggolan to Inter...good lord.
Well, fear no more, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, Roma and Florenzi are making progress towards a contract renewal, one that would pay Ale some €3 million plus bonuses per year. This figure, some one million short of Inter’s reported offer, might be enough to tempt Florenzi to remain in Rome.
No matter the final figure, this situation is fraught with peril...like, really fraught. As third in line to the Totti crown, Monchi would trifle with Florenzi at his own peril; Roma fans don’t like it when you fuck with one of their own, so they can only stand so much nickel and diming, particularly if the alternative is sending him to Inter, especially Spalletti’s Inter. That’s the stuff of effigies.
On the other side of token is the complicated algebra required to properly assess Florenzi’s worth. Given his positional uncertainty early in his career, the spate of injuries over the past two to three years, and the subsequent inconsistencies on the pitch, many scoffed at the notion he’s worth €4 million, a sum that would make him one of the 15-20 highest paid players in the league.
But still, this is Ale we’re talking about here, he’s our baby. The affection people show towards Florenzi, though completely irrational and maddening to some, is part of what has drawn so many to follow Roma in the first place, and as we said, that’s not something that can be dismissed out of hand so easily.
Next to Totti’s “retirement” this is probably the most delicate situation Monchi has encountered during his brief tenure in Roma, and while you might not think he’s worth it, the market has already shown that Florenzi is a €4 million player, so Monchi must massage this situation with great care.
As presently constituted, a €3 million plus bonuses contract seems like a fair enough offer—Roma wins because they didn’t buckle to his €4 million demand while Florenzi still comes out ahead since he’s nearly doubling his current salary, but that won’t make signing the dotted line any easier, nor will it make the deal immune to criticism on either side.
In many ways, Florenzi is the last vestige of the “Old Roma’, the one that so many of us grew to love over the past 25 years or so, the one that valued sacrifice and romance over cold hearted rationalism. And sure, the new leadership finally seems to have a grasp on how to carry the club forward, but there will always be a part of you that longs for that Old Roma, the one to whom so many of us have flocked and the one for whom Totti, De Rossi and Florenzi have sacrificed so much.
And if you know anything about nostalgia, you know the power it holds over us, causing us to defy all logic and reason as we retrace the path through which we lost our innocence. Very often it’s a harmless albeit fruitless pursuit, but we do it anyway because you can’t put a price on reassurance, or more aptly the chance at reassurance.
Alessandro Florenzi may not be the greatest Roman to ever suit up for the club, but his passion, his presence and his connection to that lineage reminds us of a simpler time, when success was reflected in the smiles on people’s faces rather than the black ink on a balance sheet.
And that, my friends, is worth any cost.