If Roma could play the likes of Tor Sapienza every week, we'd be knee deep in trophies by now. While today's tune-up against their fifth division neighbors was entertaining, it was just that: a tune-up. Sure, it was fun to watch Roma hang a dozen goals on an opponent, but today was only the first step for Paulo Fonseca's Roma, and while Patrick Schick scored a brace, including a cutting backheel and a lovely left footed effort, one gets the feeling he won't be the answer in the middle.
When you combine those issues with Edin Dzeko's on-again-off-again move to Inter Milan, it's no surprise that Roma are in hot pursuit of a new striker. The name clogging the headlines for most of the summer has been Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain, who may or may not want to leave Turin for more playing time. However, as summer has rolled on it's become increasingly clear that Higuain, despite the club all but telling him to hit the bricks, wants to fight for his place among Maurizio Sarri's retooled Juventus squad.
And with the rumor at a standstill we've had no choice but to churn over the same old stories: his brother-agent's insistence that Pipito will stay with Juve and Roma's continued efforts to convince him otherwise, the latest twist of which has seen Paulo Fonseca reportedly call Higuain directly. While that's some impressive initiative from Roma's new manager, Higuain has thus far stuck to his guns, reality be damned.
With their number one target keeping them at arm's length, the rumor mill has reached a new low. Leggo (link via Calciomercato) has now connected Roma with Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid's somewhat combustible striker. Since returning from Chelsea two summers ago, a stint in which he scored 52 league goals in three seasons, as well as being voted the most hated player in the world by L’Equipe, Costa has struggled with injuries and form, netting only five league goals since his return. And now that Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata are in town, Costa should find playing time even harder to come by.
In some ways, Costa and Higuain are in the same boat: 30+ year old strikers looking for one final shot at first team football with a top(ish) European side. With Higuain the gamble is simply that he'll, you know, try, while with Costa you're rolling the dice on his surgically repaired foot and hoping that he's tamed his once wild ways.
I suppose the ironic part is that, when you consider what Fonseca requires from his center forward, Dzeko is probably the best fit of these three, at least in terms of his contributions in the build-up, but the writing seems to be on the wall—he's a goner.
Who exactly takes his place seems like it will depend on Fonseca's persuasive capabilities, unless Roma have an ace up their sleeve—going big for Andrea Belotti, or rolling the dice on Andrea Petagna perhaps?