Here at CdT we have a complicated relationship with Roma President James Pallotta. While we were initially overjoyed with the prospect of an American owning the club—in fact, it was the very first piece I wrote for CdT—our relationship with Uncle Jimmy since then has been, shall we say, rocky. While I’ll give him plaudits for his ability (and sheer patience) to weather the Roman bureaucracy with respect to the Stadio della Roma, and I’ve loved how he’s gone toe to toe with other owners, I’ve always bristled when he chimes in on the club’s transfer dealings.
And yes, he’s the owner, so he’s well within his right to do so, but one needn’t look any further than his we won’t sell Pjanic claim to see the downside of such sweeping transfer claims. My personal stance on Roma’s need to sell large pieces has softened as new financial information has come to light (it sucks, but it is what it is), but I’ve always maintained if this is indeed Roma’s reality, shouldn’t the man who signs the checks keep that in mind before making such proclamations?
I bring this up simply because Roma may find themselves in familiar waters this summer. While Miralem Pjanic was a fine player in many regards, I’m not sure many people would have considered him among the world’s best midfielders when he left for Juve (though we certainly made that case), the same can’t be said for Roma’s latest jewel, Alisson Becker.
By any estimation, Alisson is among a handful of keepers you’d sell the farm for—with his size, anticipation, footwork and shot stopping ability, Alisson would be a building block or the final piece for any of the world’s well-heeled clubs.
And while Roma’s run through the Champions League has been as lucrative as it’s been surprising, it may not bring the club back to square one, as it were. Considering that, and considering that Alisson is the club’s most valuable asset at present, the vultures will circle, perhaps even Liverpool and Real Madrid, two of Roma’s Champions League semifinal compatriots.
With the omnipresent FFP concerns and clubs built to spill cash making offers, the pressure may very well be on Roma this summer to sell Alisson, among others. Speaking to his crown jewel, Pallotta’s intention was unequivocal:
I don’t understand why people keep asking me if Alisson will be our goalkeeper next season. We have no intention of selling him. No chance.
We thought he was a great goalkeeper when we signed him and there is no way we are selling.
Once again, the manner in which you interpret his certainty and his bravado depends largely on your opinion of Pallotta. If you love him, this is right up your alley—this brashness is perfectly emblematic of what makes Roma so great and is precisely the type of attitude a club hoping to mount an assault on the European elite needs. However, if you’re not on team Pallotta, this just seems short sighted and foolhardy
We have no intention of selling him. No chance. Words that, in due time, could make Pallotta look like a hero or a villain.