Since Arkadiusz Milik is a potential replacement for Edin Dzeko, I suppose it’s only fitting that we cover his transfer with as much fervor as our #DaretoDzeko campaign from 2015, when we tracked every whisper of Dzeko's move from Manchester City to Roma for nearly five months. Ordinarily, we don't get so far into the weeds on a single transfer rumor, but, as the ensuing five years have shown, Dzeko was no ordinary transfer. After shaking off a rough first season in Rome, Dzeko has gone on to become the club's fourth all-time leading scorer, so the hype was warranted.
The Milik rumor hasn't dragged out quite as long, but it feels almost as important to Roma's future, not so much because he’s Dzeko's equal (he's not) but simply because he's the closest Dzeko facsimile on the market today.
So, with that in mind, let's take a quick spin through the rumor mill.
Roma to Offer €18 Million Plus Bonuses for Milik
Yesterday, after discussing the spider web of rumors connecting Milik, Dzeko, Luis Suarez, Moise Kean and even Olivier Giroud, word broke that Milik had informed Napoli he wanted to stay with the club this season. This despite the fact that his contract expires at the end of the season, his replacements have been purchased (Andrea Petagna and Victor Oshimen) and he's been left completely out of the club's pre-season friendlies.
For Milik, it makes sense. He'll still collect a paycheck, likely pick up a few minutes here and there and then test the free-agent market come June. But for Napoli, it's a decision that could potentially cost them tens of millions of euros. He may not have had many suitors, and they definitely wouldn't get the €50 million they originally wanted, but even gaining a fraction of that is better than nothing, particularly for a player whom your manager has no use.
Despite that supposed request to remain with Napoli, Italian journalist Alfred Pedulla claims that Milik is re-considering his options, particularly as it relates to Roma, who are rumored to be prepping a €22 million offer for Milik—€18 million up front and the rest in bonuses.
We're eight days away from the new season and the writing seems to be on the wall—we just don't know which wall and who wrote it. Will Milik come to Rome? Will Dzeko then go to Juve? What about Giroud? Or Kean?
It's a mess of a rumor but we may have an answer before too long, so long as Milk comes to his senses.
Izzo Linked to Roma
The preamble to this rumor isn't nearly as long, trust me. While Roma are likely days away from acquiring Chris Smalling on a permanent basis (at long last!), that hasn't stopped them from seeking other options, including Torino's Armando Izzo, who is reportedly on Roma's radar according to the Corrierre della Sera.
Smalling? Izzo? Por que no los dos!?
El Shaarawy to Return on Loan
We certainly can't fault Stephan El Shaarawy for taking a huge payday to move to the Chinese Super League. Many European-based players have done that in the past, but not many make the move as young as SES, who left Roma for Shanghai Shenhua a few months shy of his 27th birthday.
You didn't have to be clairvoyant to predict what was coming next; you just knew at some point within 18 months of that transfer that he'd be looking for a way out. For a player his age and with his international ambitions, moving to the China was always a head-scratching decision.
Accordingly, rumor has it that El Shaarawy has been granted permission to seek out a short term loan through January 2021, which has put clubs like PSG and Roma on notice, the latter of whom would reportedly love to bring SES back provided they can first sell Diego Perotti.
El Shaarawy is one of my favorite players full-stop, so sign me up for this one, even if it's just for a few months—but something tells me his days with Shanghai Shenhua are done.
That's just a quick hit of Saturday's rumors, but the Milik situation is the one to keep an eye on, as it will likely set off a cascade of moves from multiple clubs. Stay tuned.