If nothing else, Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash between Roma and Barcelona highlighted a bridge Roma has yet to cross, that of the financial behemoth. While Barcelona may have slipped a tiny bit from their Messi/Neymar/Suarez heights, they’re still among the best three clubs in the world at any moment. Of course, there are benefits to not being among the sport’s oligarchy, chief among them is not having to deal with super agent Mino Raiola, who can and has shaped the fates of football clubs by steering his clients in any given direction, usually the one that gives him the most money.
Raiola does, believe it or not, have an actual AS Roma client, Luca Pellegrini, the local boy turned left back turned ACL victim. Sick as it might sound, the mere fact that Lil Luca signed with Raiola does speak to his talent and potential, but in case you’d forgotten, Pellegrini made quite the impression on Eusebio Di Francesco over the summer, to the point where many speculated he’d work his way into the first team discussion for the 2017-2018, but you know, Roma + full backs+ ACL injuries = disaster.
While Pellegrini appears on the mend—even making the squad list last week—he has yet to make his senior team debut, but the future seems to be his. With Emerson Palmieri enjoying life in London, all that stands between Pellegrini and the left-back spot are the impressive but aging legs of Aleksandar Kolarov. So in a perfect world, Pellegrini makes his debut this spring, then serves as an understudy for one year before taking the reins in 2019.
There is one small problem in all that, however—his youth contract is set to expire in about ten weeks. And while the prospect of Raiola meeting with club officials is usually a panic inducing site, in this instance, Pellegrini’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise, as his young client doesn’t really have (excuse the pun) a leg to stand on. Roma is in desperate need of depth behind Kolarov and Pellegrini is presumably anxious to make a name for himself, so this is a deal that should sign itself.
So that’s it, a straight forward meeting, right?
Ah, not so fast. Raiola, you may recall, represents one Mario Balotelli, the enigmatic striker who, after years of controversy and dwindling performances, has reestablished his good name among European footballing circles after nearly two successful and quiet seasons at Nice.
So, combine Balotelli's resurgence, the fact that he's an impending free agent, and his agent just happens to be in Rome anyway, and you have the makings of a transfer rumor.
I, for one, would love to give him a shot, but with Edin Dzeko still scoring regularly and the sheer amount they invested in Patrik Schick, this rumor doesnt hold water, barring some sort of massive philosphical change from EDF.
Apologies for not posting this like I planned yesterday, but my ISP lost a royal rumble with some trees apparently.