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Saturday June 17 2017
The Roma Supermarket

With Roma having to balance the books, Giallorossi fans may be in for a long summer, Edo Dalmonte writes. 

Having lost Miralem Pjanic last summer to bitter rivals Juventus, Roma fans are all-too-aware of the painful realities of the transfer window. Despite being taken over by American owners six years ago, they’ve sold a big name almost every year since then. Moreover, if early indications are anything to go by, they may well spend the whole summer fretting about who leaves, rather than getting excited about potential arrivals.

The Bosnian’s sale is particularly indicative of the Lupi’s plight. With a new stadium (and its guaranteed income) barely more than a mirage, President James Pallotta wants the club to maintain itself, which may explain why Pjanic complained of being “sold in 15 minutes” when Juve called Roma early last June.

Though the transfer window has just opened, Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rudiger are already being linked to a departure, with Liverpool only being stopped by the former’s price, and the German hotly pursued by Inter.

As much as fans were rightly enthused at the arrival of Sevilla transfer wizard Monchi, the bitter reality is that the Spaniard’s hiring is a continuation of predecessor Walter Sabatini’s work, namely the recruiting of under-appreciated talents and their eventual sale for obscene profits. A good example is Marquinhos, who was bought for €7.2 million (including a loan) in 2012 and sold on to Paris Saint-Germain for €31.4m two years later.

Another is the signing of Alisson (a Brazilian international) and Lukasz Skorupski (a miraculous 10 clean sheets with relegated Empoli last season), who will be fine replacements for Wojciech Szczesny’s €3m yearly wages. Monchi moaned that “Roma are not a supermarket,” but the history suggests this is primarily a selling club and it’s the Spaniard’s MO too.

In this light, Monchi’s quick acquisition of respected Mexican international Hector Moreno (for a mere €5.7m) may be a blueprint for the Lupa’s transfer campaign, not to mention the sign that one between Rudiger and central defender Kostas Manolas (another Premier League favourite) could be on the way out.

Losing either would surely be a big hit:  Manolas quickly morphed into one of the best stoppers around after joining from Olympiacos in 2014, while even an ACL tear wasn’t enough to stop Rudiger from performing (albeit with some hiccups) as a full-back, not to mention putting in a strong shift in the middle.

While Roma have established a reputation for turning cheap buys into strong defenders, there is the nagging feeling that this club cyclically sells its crown jewels, preventing it from truly establishing continuity and challenging Juventus for the Serie A crown.

Even if Monchi digs out a gem in the market, it will be difficult to replace the scorer of 29 Serie A goals in two seasons, or at least to do so quickly enough for Eusebio Di Francesco’s men to keep pace with Juventus.

For all his successes in the excel sheet, the Spaniard’s Sevilla sides never competed for league titles, which is exactly what Giallorossi fans are expecting after a string of second-place disappointments.

There is good news for Roma, however, in the fact that they’ve signed Kevin Strootman to a new deal, and are making progress on the Radja Nainggolan front - despite interest from Chelsea and Manchester United. After having to make do without Pjanic, it would be nice to see Roma avoid the usual chopping and changing in the middle of the park, and preserve two of Calcio’s most dynamic presences.  

If anything, the arrival of Di Francesco is likely to enrich the midfield with the addition of fellow Sassuolo man (and former Romanista) Lorenzo Pellegrini, one of the most exciting Italian prospects in his position. Even then, this may leave Leandro Paredes - who played brilliantly for Empoli two seasons ago - out of the set-up again, and force another departure.

Still, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Roma may be falling behind this summer, especially if they don’t make several impactful signings. There’s no hint of Napoli losing anyone major (barring Faouzi Ghoulam), a year removed from adding a young spine to the squad in Amadou Diawara, Piotr Zielinski, Arkadiusz Milik and Marko Rog.

Six years into his chairmanship, Pallotta still finds himself balancing the club’s needs with the fans’ dreams of glory. It won’t be easy. 

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Every single year we lose a crucial player and replace them with someone mediocre. And Roma want to compete against Juve and in the UCL? No bloody wonder...

Totti retired and the team is nothing now.
on the 21st June, 2017 at 2:58pm
they may lose salah but this is still a roma which is going to compete. they have already sorted out their defence which was the concern considering 60% of it was on loan last season. as a neutral i would like to see them fighting for the tittle so with that in mind pellegrini and berardi would be amazing signing the former having a 10 million euro buy back option.
on the 18th June, 2017 at 3:23pm
Now that Totti has left and others leave every yea not much left there to root for apart from badge and colours
on the 18th June, 2017 at 3:01pm
@ Dimitri, Roma also never had points deducted for match fixing. I rather be fan of a small club than one with a tainted past.

If you really think Milan is gonna buy their way into success, just look at your signings so far. Not one is world class, then you have to worry about FFP while having bought average players at inflated prices.

Go worry about Donnarumma even he sees that your club and new owners are a joke. He wont even stay for a 5 mil contract so its not about money.
on the 18th June, 2017 at 6:32am
Monchi is properly suited for clubs of this level. Shrewd buys, high priced sales, be competitive in cup competitions, and finish top 4 in the league.
on the 18th June, 2017 at 3:29am
Honestly I wish roma would be a powerhouse but they never were. Italy is missing milan and inter in the Champions League so bad because every year its the same old roma going out early in the Champions League, napoli getting a team like real Madrid and standing no chance. Hopefully the Chinese in both milan teams make them close to what they used to be because the sake of italy needs it
on the 17th June, 2017 at 9:44pm
@Dimitri You're an idiot.
on the 17th June, 2017 at 5:44pm
If they can get 70-80 million for Rudiger and Salah then that is good business.
on the 17th June, 2017 at 2:21pm
As we, the Milan fans (or Inter, or Juve) have a habit to say, Roma never was, and never will be a great club. They're nearly 'wannabes', with some accidental title every 15-20 years, like the one in 2001, and the previous in early 1980's. The only reason they are in focus these few years is 'cause of Inter & Milan decline. But the way things are going, soon, everything will come to its place - Juve, Milan, Inter & gotta say Napoli (they deserve every respect) at the top, and Roma hoping for 4th
on the 17th June, 2017 at 1:40pm
LOL at comparing the gap of Sevilla-Real Madrid/Barcelona to Roma-Juventus where you "enlighten" the reader of Sevilla's failed attempts at a league title.

No Informed Romanisti thinks that just because we signed Monchi, all of a sudden the books will be in the green and we are gonna sign Ronaldo. We are excited about Monchi because of the exact thing you "shed light on". We need to sell but is a huge upgrade from Saba. For all his good work Saba threw away millions at bad signings.
on the 17th June, 2017 at 2:29am

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