Wednesday came and went, but Roma experienced little by way of actual news. Gervinho may have a touch of the flu, Alessandro Florenzi and Francesco Totti had some hydrotherapy, Roma may have a new centerback, and the new grounds may finally be taking shape. So, before we gnash our teeth on this week's Inter Milan matchup, let's recap the day's news and news-like stories.
Any off-the-pitch news between Roma and Cagliari moves at a snail's pace, but the Davide Astori-to-Roma rumors have picked up quite a bit of steam over the past 48 hours. The latest bit of gossip would see Roma shell out €10.5m to Cagliari to obtain Astori, then signing him through 2018 at €1.5m per year.
So, what exactly would Astori bring to Roma?
Astori, 27-years-old, is in the prime of his career and stands at roughly 6'2'' and 160ish lbs, so he's roughly on par with Benatia in terms of stature, but what about his performances on the pitch, how does that measure up to Roma's current centerbacks?
Through 22 league appearances, Astori is averaging 1.6 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 0.7 blocks and an astounding 8.2 clearances per match, good for third in the league. While his numbers lag behind Benatia, they would, at least on the surface, give credence to a Castan vs Astori debate. Now, if this move actually comes to fruition, we'll have much more to say, but at the very least, an Astori, Benatia, Castan combination would give Roma an extremely strong and capable central core, one that would certainly help it survive multiple competitions.
Or would it?
Well, not so fast, says Cagliari direct Nicola Salerno.
There is no truth in it, we haven’t even started a negotiation with Walter Sabatini.Besides, the transfer market is closed until June, so what are we supposed to be talking about?
It's almost as if Salerno is from another century, completely unaware of the modern need to obsess every ounce of information (*cough, cough*). But, when referring to the protracted Radja Nainggolan negotiations, Salerno contradicted himself somewhat:
It took us three months to sort that deal out, so it’s not as if we could close for Astori in half a day. I can assure you this report has no foundation
Doesn't the precedent set by the Nainggolan deal sort of imply that, in order for a deal to be completed by June, the wheels need to be greased in February?
Nothing is ever easy with Cagliari, and Roma will surely have competition for his services, but barring some huge leap from Alessio Romagnoli or Rafael Toloi, Astori is a necessity. Besides, given their respective ages, signing Astori wouldn't necessarily limit the development of Roma's younger center backs.
Until Roma is on a relatively even keel with the likes of PSG and Manchester United, we're going to have to deal with both the new and old money of Europe chasing after Roma's crown jewels.
Mehdi Benatia, as you may recall, came to Trigoria this past August to the tune of €13.5m, and put pen to paper on a five year deal. So, the very fact that Roma are considering extending and/or re-working that deal speaks volumes about his value to the team, to say nothing of his astronomical value on the open market.
While the players started off the week rejoicing in their three day weekend, Rudi pretty much killed that vibe with a two-a-days on Tuesday, followed by "technique work" on Wednesday. Hmm, "Two-a-day Tuesday" and "Technique Work Wednesday", it seems that Garcia loves alliteration, too. I knew there was a reason I liked him.
There isn't much meat on those bones beyond training ground photos, but it does beg the question, does shooting practice last longer or go quicker now that Marquinho is gone?
An extremely brief update on what we discussed yesterday, but it seems that the club may finally reveal some actual, you know, details about the new stadium. We'll pass it along when we know, but I'm sure there won't be heated debates about sponsors, the number of seats or the club losing its soul, right? That would never happen.