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Sunday June 2 2019
Roma start again. And again.

Following an underwhelming campaign and numerous changes on and off the field, Roma will be looking to start from scratch next season, writes Steven Moore.

This is not how President James Pallotta would have expected his season to go, especially after the splendid 2017-18 campaign that saw Roma finish in third place with 77 points and progress to the Champions League semi-finals.

A combination of erroneous decisions in the summer transfer window initiated their decline and Pallotta put the blame squarely on his director of sport Monchi, who quit for a return to Sevilla in March.

Roma sold Brazilian wonder goalkeeper Alisson, Belgian Radja Nainggolan and Dutch central midfielder Kevin Strootman, amongst others. This was a risky decision, considering how vital the three players were to the side. However, they did earn approximately €120million for the three transfers – this gave fans and management hope that reinforcements would be arriving. What they didn’t think about, however, was what effect removing these three starters would have on the team.

The Giallorossi are accused by their fans of being stingy on the transfer market, yet the figures show a very different picture. Monchi spent a lot of money, he just didn’t do it wisely. Last summer alone, Roma bought French international Steven Nzonzi from Sevilla for €27m and Sweden international goalkeeper Robin Olsen from FC Copenhagen for €9m.

They also added the likes of Paris Saint-Germain trequartista Javier Pastore (€25m), Ajax winger Justin Kluivert (€17.5m), Sassuolo striker Gregoire Defrel (€15m), Davide Santon (€9.5m) and Nicolò Zaniolo (€4.5m) from Inter, Atalanta’s Bryan Cristante (€5m), swapped Lukasz Skorupski for Bologna’s Antonio Mirante along with €5m and brought in Ivan Marcano on a free.

What usually happens when a spending spree occurs? A wave of confusion. And this is exactly what hit Roma, with most of these deals impacting them adversely. Olsen and Nzonzi did not perform anywhere close to what they had shown for their respective nations at the World Cup, Pastore flopped, Defrel was sent away on loan, and Cristante dropped in form. This resulted in poor play and fans turning on management.

Ironically, the least costly negotiations in this whole window turned out to be the best transfers. Zaniolo, Mirante and Marcano were key when called upon, with the Italian youngster having a breakout season and the veteran ‘keeper taking over the starting role in goal by the end of the year. Furthermore, Kluivert was promising when given the chance to play.

Just as the dust was starting to settle, it was all thrown into the air again in March. Pallotta sacked Coach Eusebio Di Francesco, less than a year after he’d taken Roma to a Champions League semi-final, and Monchi walked out in protest. Claudio Ranieri was drafted in to steady the ship until the end of the season, eventually taking them to sixth place and the Europa League.

Now the Lupi face the prospect of starting all over again. Again. And again. This club is like a rollercoaster that never stops, until eventually the fans end up feeling a bit sick. To make matters worse, even the bastions of stability within the squad are being ushered out the door against their will.

Francesco Totti was to a degree understandable, he’d have been 41 when the next season started, but Daniele De Rossi proved repeatedly this term he’s still one of the best midfielders around and certainly a rock for his teammates. Kicking him out as he prepares to turn 36, when he’s never complained about sitting on the bench, is not just cruel, but counter-productive.

Now there are voids in the squad, the dressing room, the bench and the club hierarchy. Reports suggest Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov, Kostas Manolas and Diego Perotti are also on their way out.

The only core figure remaining will be Alessandro Florenzi, a Roman and Romanista in the vein of Totti and De Rossi, but a very different kind of player. It’s no longer clear what he is, a winger turned midfielder turned full-back, player who fills in the gaps in moments of need, a Jack of all trades and master of none. How can you build a team around a player who doesn’t have a role?

Rome is filled with structures that were built thousands of years ago and still stand strong. Roma can’t even build a team that lasts more than a season.

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Have your say...
Florenzi is a right back. I find it hilarious that this page always finds ways to criticise him when there isn't a better RB in the league. Don't forget too that this site championed Monchi when he arrived despite the general Roma fan base, Samuel Bridges is the best Roma writer here but I haven't seen any of his work in a while now, just for that magazine, assign it all to him and stop writing uneducated drivel.
on the 4th June, 2019 at 11:45am
Roma was always a mediocre club, with couple of highs and buzz around Totti and very annoying fans (this includes Lazio also)
on the 3rd June, 2019 at 5:03pm
The fact that 5 coaches have turned down Roma's offer this month, tells everything about the trust everybody lost about the club project.
I hope we are not going to end up with Giampiero Ventura eventually :/
on the 3rd June, 2019 at 12:38pm
Sell: Dzeko, Kolarov, Juan Jesus, Pastore, Perotti.
Keep: Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Under, SES, Kluivert,
Callback: Luca pellegrini. Promote Zan Celar and alessio riccardi to First Team
Buy: Sandro Tonali For CDM position. if possible bring in Boateng, pair him with manolas or subsitue of manolas(any one of Ozan Kabak, Merih Demiral, Alessandro Bastoni).
Find a decent Goal Keeper
Invite either De Zerbi or Fonseca play 433 with False nine(schick), SES and Under on two falnks.
on the 3rd June, 2019 at 12:34am
Still waiting for the new stadium and the incompetent mayor Raggi to approve the plans. Only in Italy zzzzzzz
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 7:54pm
Two things Roma is known for is loyalty and a productive academy. Loyalty = Tommasi playing for free, DDR, Totti, Florenzi all staying, and players like Naingollan + Dzeko not wanting to leave. Academy is obvious: Pellegrini, Totti, DDR, Aquilani, Florenzi, Romagnoli, etc.

Would be unfortunate if mngmnt's short-sighted and conflicting goals hurt player loyalty - which is the one of the only things that separated the club from a feeder mid-table Serie A team during tough times.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 7:09pm
It's very clear there is no consistent long-term plan at Roma. They have objectives (develop & sell youth, build stadium, qualify for CL every season, better branding + marketing, Italian core of players), but no consistent plan on how to effectively achieve those goals. Especially since some of those goals are in direct conflict with each-other (i.e. buy a bunch of youth, turnover squad, and qualify for CL every season in a competitive league).

The management is a joke.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 6:46pm
This has been the story of Roma ever since the garbage ownership took over. Reinvent the wheel every year. Nothing will change with the current "leadership". We will continue to be a youth academy for Europe's ambitious clubs.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 6:04pm
To James Palotta : How funny does it feel to see 2 ex-Roma players you sold...a star keeper, and talented striker sold less than 2 years ago, go off to reach CL final 2 years straight and then WIN it yesterday ?
Did the owners of Liverpool send you a thank you Card ?
Ok so maybe Roma pocketed a lot of money ...but did you replace the keeper ?
( Olsen really ?)
Or replace striker ? Maybe a defender ?
You lost Totti, you lost EDF now DeRossi. Now have even more $$.
But the club is in shambles.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 5:26pm
Couldn't agree more. Very well said.
As long as Pallotta in charge, Roma will be nothing but a mediocre club without any goals or ambitions to aim.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 9:29am

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