I'm not going to tell you again how much I hate the international break, but suffice it to say, this one has produced some outlandish rumors, and I can't say I didn't warn you. With Roma's latest front office demolition job still smoldering in the dumpster, the pace and sheer audacity of the rumors was bound to be, shall we say, extreme. Just yesterday, folks in the Romaverse would have you believe the club has already set up and knocked down the Gianluca Petrachi-Antonio Conte-Gonzalo Higuian domino chain, resetting Roma's top executive, their manager and their lead striker with one little flick of a finger.
Now, all of those might happen, some might happen, or they could all be complete b.s. Whatever the case may prove to be, Roma's recent rumors have had quite an Argentinian flavor to them, though if you believe these next two links, Higuain would be replacing two of his countryman rather than joining them.
First up is Javier Pastore, Roma's Parisian purchase gone bad. Pastore swapped capitals to the tune of €24.7 million last summer, and whether or not part of that was floated by Qatar Airways is irrelevant; he's been a tremendous disappointment. Granted, part of that can be chalked up to injury, but the emergence of Lorenzo Pellegrini and later Nicolo Zaniolo has sort of made El Flaco redundant—expensive, injured and redundant.
However, as is so often the case when European teams get a bit crazy on the transfer market, the fine folks in the Chinese Super League are there to bail them out. Rumor has it that Hebei China Fortune Football Club are interested in El Flaco, and while no transfer figures are included in that rumor, one has to imagine Roma's only chance of recouping that cost is to ship Pastore off to China.
Meanwhile, Pastore's countryman, Diego Perotti, has reaffirmed his commitment to Roma in the face of persistent rumors...rumors started by his father! Late last year, Perotti's papa told Argentine radio station, Radio Late, that his son was keen on returning to Argentina, specifically to Boca Juniors.
While the story sort of fell by the wayside, Perotti Jr. addressed the rumor today, claiming simply that he has two-years remaining on his contract and that "for now” he is not going back to Argentina.
That "for now” might seem ominous, but what else could he reasonably say? Perotti knows how this business works, and particularly how Roma works, so he's correct in not assuming anything either way. And at this point, given the upheaval in Roma's front office, I'd say it's even odds between Roma and Boca.
Inconsistent though he may be, Perotti is a sublimely skilled forward, one who makes the players around him better, but at 30-years-old his best days are likely behind him, so the only question we should ask is simply how he wants to play out the remainder of his career: a part-time player with Roma or a full-time player elsewhere?
While only Perotti can answer that question, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: Antonio Conte won't be coaching Pastore, Perotti and Higuain in Roma next year.