Somewhere high above the streets of Rome there is a man. Not a young man by any stretch of the imagination, but not past his worth. On this evening, this man is cloistered in an office, his fingers deftly wrapped around a cigarette, his laptop the only light piercing the billowing smoke that fills the room. He has a job to do, a deadline, and the pressure of decades of shortcomings weighing on his withering white locks.
Sure, he's not the only one facing this deadline. There are plenty of other men in this guild, wracked with the same worry, pressing the same buttons, and making the same pitches; hopeful that their pleas can curry the favor of the young and well feted; a last minute gift to his people, a desperate attempt to quell the panic on the streets. But this man in Rome is not alone; the scene unfolds the same in Britannia as it does in Iberia, the man in Munich under the same strains as the one in Sevilla.
And though these men take the same pledge, none of them are perched above a city as ancient and as anxious as Rome, where people fill the avenues and alleyways seeking everything from simple sustenance to eternal salvation, and where the city itself seeks validation; some sign of deference from its contemporaries who have long left them wanting, hell, even an ounce of begrudging respect would suffice.
While his city may not be able to match them in fashion, finance, or foundries, football provides a path towards equality, towards self-respect and a chance for reckoning. But he's ventured down this road before; he's faced the pressure, and sowed the seeds of success.
Tonight? Tonight is just another deadline.
Before we delve into the latest rumors, a quick rundown of Saba Season thus far:
- Radja Nainggolan-M
- Michel Bastos-M
- Rafael Toloi-D
- Valmir Berisha-F
- Petar Golubovic-D
- Tomáš Vestenický-F
- Alberto Tibolla-M
- Leandro Paredes-M
- Antonio Sanabria-F
- Nemanja Radonjic-F
- Michael Bradley-M to Toronto FC
- Marco Borriello-F to West Ham United
- Nicolas Burdisso-D to Genoa
The Final Countdown
Well, there's your Nicolas Burdisso replacement. Roma add to their youthful reserves with the signing of 23-year-old Brazilian center back, Rafael Toloi. Unlike yesterday's signing of Antonio Sanabria and Leandro Paredes, Toloi actually has a chance of suiting up for Roma in the near term, thanks in no small part to his ancestral ability to obtain an Italian passport. I know nothing about him, but in Walter we trust.
Of course, with the arrival of the slightly older and slightly more experienced Toloi, Roma's resident teenage defenders, Tin Jedvaj and Alessio Romagnoli, will be knocked down the pecking order, thereby making them prime loan candidates.
There are only a couple of tidbits in this one, the juiciest of which saw Roma reportedly refuse a loan deal for Federico Ricci. In the short term, this means nothing, he won't garner more than a few complimentary minutes at the end of lopsided match, but you have to like the signal this sends for his future in Roma.
We'll try and stay on top of the final fray as best we can, but feel free to keep your own tallies below, substantiated or otherwise.