Whether it's because of the international break or because of Roma's miraculous 1-0 victory over Cesena, the Rudi Garcia must be fired train has been temporarily derailed. Witness this week's news, such as it is. While we spent the weekend envisioning the plausible-yet-controversial idea of Kevin Strootman extending his stay in Rome, usurping Daniele De Rossi's place in the line of succession in the process, Monday brings with it further signs (to the extent a rumor can be considered such) that Garcia will keep his thumb pressed squarely on this squad for the foreseeable future.
Based on the news o' the day, it appears as though the English and Italian media have diagnosed Roma with an acute case of Francophilia, as the Giallorossi have been connected with several French nationals and/or Parisian-based footballers.
Kicking off the week, La Gazzetta dello Sport cooked up a Lucas Digne-to-Roma rumor, one founded on the flimsy theory that PSG will sacrifice the talented 21-year-old due to a current glut of fullbacks. Digne, as promising an attacking fullback as one is bound to fine, has made only a dozen appearances in league play but is bound to the Parisians through 2018. Combine his age, his potential and his positional scarcity, and we're talking about one hell of a transfer fee, so let's hope GDS' speculative loan option is legit.
Rio Mavuba, a 31-year-old midfielder, and like Digne, a former Garcia protégé, was thrown in as an afterthought in that report. Mavuba has made 27 appearances across all competitions this season and would be available on a free transfer this summer, so we could consider him next summer's Seydou Keita.
Beyond Garcia longing for his time at Lille, Roma are reportedly shopping on the Seine for another PSG fullback, Dutchman Gregory van der Wiel. The 27-year-old fullback has been a mainstay for PSG this season, already logging over 2,000 minutes across all competitions, looking particularly strong in their Champions League campaign. Van der Wiel has only one year remaining on his €4m per year deal, so, in terms of transfer fees, he may be a bit cheaper than Digne.
Whatever the summer ultimately holds, it's nice to see Roma connected to an actual area of need for once. Lord knows this club doesn't need more wingers, and with Federico Balzaretti looking increasingly likely to retire and Maicon reportedly considering jumping ship a year early, Roma needs to invest heavily at the fullback position over the summer.
Jose Cholebas, Ashley Cole and Vasilis Torosidis just won't cut it for a team with serious ambitions. However, if Walter Sabatini can keep two of those three around for depth and somehow manage to bring in Digne on loan AND sign van der Wiel, Roma would be substantially better ahead of next season.