For the first time in quite a few years, Roma’s pre-season training will officially begin within the walls of Trigoria this Monday. That hasn’t stopped 29 of the 34 Roma players called-up to the full pre-season tour from getting in early this weekend, ahead of next Saturday’s friendly at Latina.
Only Alisson, Kolarov and Fazio will join up much later with the squad while they take their post-World Cup holidays. Edin Dzeko and Kevin Strootman were also missing today, but every other name showed up. In the early morning training sessions, the 29 players were divided into two groups between the gym and the pitch.
Of the morning group training on the pitch: Riccardi was training with his fellow midfielders Gerson, Pellegrini, Cristante and Gonalons. Young wingers Kluivert, Verde and Antonucci got to train alongside El Shaarawy and Under (who isn’t exactly old but at this point must be considered the senior right-winger). Capradossi trained alongside Juan Jesus. The training was nothing more than sprints and work without the ball.
Some names may be packing their bags early mid-way through the summer; Mirko Antonucci has already been linked with a potential loan move to Pescara yesterday, while Verde has been linked today with moves to either Frankfurt or Porto. By the time the season begins, Roma will certainly have needed to trim down her senior squad but Monchi has just confirmed an 10th signing is on the way from Brazil - 21-year old Daniel Fuzato of Palmeiras - as the Lupi have their 3rd keeper for next season lined up.
The morning was also taken up with Roma’s official unveiling of William Bianda and Ante Coric in the press-room.
Monchi on Bianda and Coric’s prospects:
“William is a defender with good feet, strength and pace. Ante is also a player with good feet. I think they will have to improve physically but have a big path ahead in all aspects. The idea is for them to stay here. I think it’ll difficult to find a better teacher than training with Di Francesco. I think the best way for them to achieve their growth is here at Roma.”
Bianda and Coric’s on their own prospects:
Coric: “The coach will see how much I play. My position is attacking midfield but I must improve defence. The coach will say how much minutes I have.”
Bianda: “There will be a lot of competition in every big club. I’m young, I’m 18 years old. I have to learn from the experienced players and when the coach calls me up I have to be ready to perform.”
Monchi on Florenzi’s renewal:
“It’s practically at the same stage as where we left it as the last presentation of Pastore. It’s a negotiation that’s very difficult because Florenzi is a big player. I think Roma has made an important offer but I understand that he’s thinking about it. To tell you the truth not much has changed in the last few days. We’ve never given Florenzi an ultimatum. I hope and I’m fighting everyday to get him to renew. I’m very confident but there’s just a little gap missing.”
Bianda and Coric on training with De Rossi on their arrival:
Bianda: “Arriving in the first few days and training with De Rossi was an honour that surprised me. He immediately put me at ease, talking with me.”
Coric: “It’s very important that we have such a captain. When I met him i was very very happy. We can learn a lot about a character of a player and that’s it.”
Monchi on whether he has a price in mind for selling Alisson:
“First of all, I’m sorry for what happened yesterday because I was supporting Brazil and Alisson. The answer I’ll give for Alisson is the same for Florenzi, there is no news. There hasn’t been an offer. Saying we have a price in mind to sell would be strange because there hasn’t been any offer. Alisson will go on holiday and will rejoin with the squad as soon as he’s finished his holiday. If there will be other developments, we’ll evaluate them but today nothing has changed from the last time. There’s nothing to evaluate.”
Coric on his four years at Red Bull Salzburg from 14 to 18 years old:
“I want to say to Red Bull Salzburg thank you for everything. It’s a nice experience. It was four years but at the beginning in particular it was very nice.”
Monchi on signing Emil Forsberg:
“I think if you know anything about Monchi then I absolutely don’t like to sign players just because they’ve had a good World Cup. And we have to differentiate between players I like and players I can sign. Because players I like would be a very big list and I like Forsberg, but I don’t think we can sign him.”
Coric on not playing much under his last coach at Dinamo - a coach who said don’t expect much early on from Coric at Roma:
“I don’t want to say it was not good with him but I didn’t play very much. There were some reasons but it’s not something to speak on, I will improve now and prove myself at a new club with a clean slate.”
Bianda and Coric on why they signed for Roma:
Bianda: “The sporting project was, for me, the best for my career and my growth. I didn’t hesitate at all, it’s a big club.”
Coric: “When I heard Roma was interested, I was like woah. Roma is a big club. I just want to show my value here.”
Monchi on whether Mertens in an objective for Roma:
Monchi on signing Hakim Ziyech:
“I like him but I don’t think we can sign him as we have a lot of players in his position.”
Bianda and Coric on their first talk with EDF:
Bianda: “He seems like a coach that works a lot on the formation. He seems like a nice guy but it’s obvious that we will work a lot and hard.”
Coric: “Yeah I had a little chat with the coach, he’s a nice chap. Every new player got to speak with the coach. It was an interesting talk.”
So there you have it. Some small developments confirmed and rumours debunked - Mertens can donate all the pizza to the homeless in Napoli that he wants, but he still won’t be see in a Roma shirt anytime soon or ever. I was looking forward to typing ‘Hakim the Dream’ for the coming season, but Ziyech’s arrival in a Roma shirt was basically ruled out at this point. I guess that’s a lot of money saved and not splurged.
Florenzi still hasn’t signed, and Alisson’s biggest task of the summer is still deciding what sun-tan lotion to slap on.
Keepers Romagnoli, Greco and Cardinali have all found out Fuzato’s imminent arrival has just ousted them for third-keeper spot at the club next season.
Meanwhile, does Monchi’s claim that Bianda and Coric will stick around with the Roma squad this season put pressure on older faces in defence and midfield to find a move elsewhere? We’ll see.