It was only 12 months ago that we were having this exact same debate, as Daniele De Rossi’s contract was set to expire and offers came pouring in from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Inter, Chelsea and Manchester City. The ‘Future Captain’ signed a new long-term deal in February, yet we’re in the exact same spot once again with City’s reported €35m offer. What will it take to reassure the fans?
Roma ultras are not known for their patience or understanding, but since the American owners took charge they have been model tifosi. Considering the abysmal campaign under Luis Enrique, protests were kept to a minimum and painful decisions accepted. Now Zdenek Zeman has returned, a Coach who always fires up the passion in his public and already brought his spectacular style of football to the Olimpico 13 years ago. The ultras did not complain when Fabio Borini – arguably Roma’s best player last term – was sold to Liverpool and Mattia Destro brought in to replace him. In all 43 players have been sold or loaned out this summer. However, putting De Rossi in the balance is a step too far.
It’s arguable that nobody is truly safe from being dragged into the transfer mire, except maybe Lionel Messi and Francesco Totti. Now Alessandro Del Piero has left Juventus after 20 years, Gennaro Gattuso is insulting Milan from Sion and Thiago Silva was sold to PSG two weeks after extending his contract. It’s a jungle out there.
Roma fans can’t even rely on the amazing bond that exists between local players and the club, although Alberto Aquilani’s downhill post-Giallorossi roll can serve as a warning to anyone thinking about flying the nest. The Lupi are not in Europe for essentially a second consecutive year, so De Rossi could be tempted by the nouveau riche Manchester City project. It is up to the club and the fans now to prove how much he is needed in the Capital. Tonight’s friendly against Aris Salonika, in which the team will be ‘presented’ to the supporters, is the ideal moment.