Yesterday, while discussing the prospect of Mario Balotelli coming to Roma, we discussed the persistent and unyielding nature of transfer rumors, focusing on the two main types: agent-generated and media generated. While each type has it’s rationale (page views and/or agent fees), neither are exactly what you’d call reliable, but they do shape and mold the landscape of global football, driving TV ratings, website hits and newspaper subscriptions in the process.
The rumor we’re about to discuss is a variant on the media-driven sort, wherein one outlet reports a rumor (with varying amounts of primary source documentation) which then spawns a series of follow-on pieces (like the one you’re reading right now). That’s not a qualitative judgement, but when you stop and think about it, there’s something awfully high school cafeteria about the whole thing—rumors begetting rumors begetting rumors...and on and on, and then next thing you know someone gets pregnant.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about an intriguing tidbit generated by the Gazzetta dello Sport, which has since been picked up by Romanews and few others. Admittedly, even by rumor standards, this one is a bit flimsy, but it seems as though Monchi is keeping tabs on Fiorentina’s fabulous 20-year-old playmaker Federico Chiesa and Bologna striker Simone Verdi.
The GdS report says simply that Monchi has informed Fiorentina that he’d, you know, like a call or text if and when they make Chiesa available, which in and of itself means nothing, that’s standard practice, but when coupled with all the other rumors we’ve discussed the past few weeks one thing seems clear: Monchi and Eusebio Di Francesco are on the prowl for attacking players, and Chiesa and Verdi are ideally suited to EDF’s tactics.
Church and Greens, with their fluid and seemingly positionless play, were practically designed for EDF’s tactics. Throughout the 2017-2018 season, Chiesa and Verdi were the very picture of versatility, with Chiesa manning a full eight different spots on the pitch, while Verdi slotted in as a striker, right winger and attacking midfielder. So even if you set aside their quality for a minute (which is massive), their sheer positional versatility makes them assets worth pursuing.
But there’s the rub. While Monchi has reportedly already made (or is making) inroads for Verdi, he will presumably face stiff competition from the likes of Napoli, while the chase for Chiesa could get quite expensive, to say the least.
It’s extremely unlikely that Roma lands one or both of these players, but the connections to them, as well as players like Justin Kluivert and Hakim Ziyech, is nevertheless a signal of intent for Roma’s summer plans—attacking flexibility.
Still, given his talent and potential, Chiesa could be the best signing Roma has made in ages.