Gianluca Petrachi warns Inter will not bully Roma over Edin Dzeko, advises Gonzalo Higuain to join his club but concedes Nicolo Barella is a ‘closed chapter’.
Petrachi was officially unveiled as Roma’s new sporting director on Thursday afternoon, and he did not hold back in his assessments of several players, starting with Dzeko.
“The message we must send out is that Roma won’t be blackmailed by anyone,” he began.
“If a player doesn’t want to stay at Roma then the team who want him must come in with the right offer.
“I don’t like being strangled by anyone. A player doesn’t own the club. On the contrary, they must do everything to allow the club to live well. It’s the club who decide.
“Manolas wanted to leave and his agent came up with an idea. I told Raiola that the clause had to be paid, although in the end Napoli made an important offer and, in Diawara, we’ve signed a player who has desire and needs confidence.
“Diawara called me, telling me he’s ready to skip his holiday to start preseason. That’s the sense of belonging that I want to find in every player.”
The former Torino executive was then asked about Higuain, who has no future at Juventus but has been put forward as a possible replacement for the Bosnian.
“Whoever questions him is a fool. He’s lost confidence, but he could be of use to us if Dzeko were to leave.
“However, motivation becomes everything. Providing Juve say ‘yes’, he’ll have to believe in a transfer first.
“If Higuain wants to get back to his best, there’s no better solution for him than coming to Roma.
“Here, he could follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Batistuta, who left behind an indelible mark.
As for Barella, however, Petrachi accepted Inter had beaten his club to the Cagliari midfielder.
“The chapter is closed. There have been so many inaccuracies about him. Before my arrival, he and his agent and reached an agreement with Roma.
“I never talked to him so for me, right now, he’s a closed chapter. That’s because in the meantime, he’s been called by Conte, who is very good at convincing players.
“He has the ambition to play in the Champions League. Therefore, either Barella calls me and tells me he’s thought about coming here again or we won’t be the ones pulling out all the stops.
Finally, the 50-year-old passed judgment on Nicolo Zaniolo after his breakthrough campaign, although a new contract remains up for debate.
"He’s a player who’s made significant progress, but his end of the season wasn’t up to par.
“He has a contract. After that, it’ll be up to the club to adjust it and treat him as an important element.
“However, all those who need to discuss renewals will be seen to later. It's easy to make legends of young lads who have just 15 appearances in Serie A.
“Zaniolo has the qualities to become a top player, but I prefer to be cautious. If he were to work with humility then he could be the team’s talisman, but it’s a decision that belongs to him.
“We must keep his feet on the ground because at his age, you tend to lose light. He lost values and concepts towards the end of last season.
“I’ll talk to him. He must remember that he hasn’t achieved anything yet.”