Dzeko at a crossroads, should Roma try to repeat Nainggolan deal?


The saying Rome wasn’t built on a day also applies to one of the local football teams. Last summer the giallorossi started an aggressive rebuild project despite making the Champions League, the club’s ownership thought they had the right man to oversee the creation of a young team in Monchi who cashed in on Alisson while also moving Strootman and Nainggolan since they were on the down side of their careers.

While Roma were able to qualify out of their group in the Champions League, they suffered an embarrassing loss in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina and find themselves in serious jeopardy of not getting back to the Champions League which would be disastrous to the club’s already fragile balance sheet. 

Regardless of where they finish in the Serie A standings, we can expect Roma to continue their rebuild as they look to shed some significant wages- the only difference is they’ll have someone other than Monchi overseeing the project. The new sporting director is likely to however try to repeat the Nainggolan deal with Inter, which turned out to be arguably be the most move Monchi made at the club.

With just one year left on his contract Edin Dzeko is at a cross roads, especially since he’s the giallorossi’s highest paid player at a time where every expense is taken into account. The Bosnian striker hasn’t been as effective as demonstrated by the fact he hadn’t scored at the Olimpico in close to a year, but he’s also a player that can make the difference in big moments and whose value can’t be measured in goals alone. 

Roma will have to make a decision on what to do with Dzeko before he can leave on a Bosman deal- they simply cannot afford to lose a prized asset even if he’s 33. The decision would be easier to make if his heir apparent Patrik Schick hadn’t been such a bust, but while they don’t have a ready replacement on the squad they are likely to move on.

Dzeko has some leverage thanks to an offer from West Ham as well as interest from Germany and Turkey, but probably not enough to convince Roma’s he’s worth his current wages of close to 5 million euro net of taxes on a deal that will take him to his mid 30s. Dzeko however does have an ace up his sleeve since his preference is to stay in Italy- Inter are looking at him as the ideal mentor for their promising attacker Lautaro Martinez- another striker whose value cannot be measured on goals alone.


Regardless of who is managing Inter next season, there will almost certainly be someone on their bench who values Dzeko’s skills between his former coach at Roma Luciano Spalletti and his rumored replacement Antonio Conte, who loves strikers who can create space for scoring opportunities from the midfield.

In addition to a manager who values Dzeko, an ownership group with deep pockets who can meet his financial demand, Inter has also a player to offer Roma, who value Dzeko at 20 million euro, to fill a very clear need. Replacing Alisson with Olsen has turned out to be the equivalent of going from Ferguson to Moyes at Manchester United and Roma now find themselves once again on the market for a keeper.

Inter are set at the position with Handanovic for at least the next two seasons so they could offer Andrei Radu who is having an excellent season on loan at Genoa. Radu would be cheap wages wise and would have a lot of upside since he’s 21 in addition to already having at least one season as a starter in Serie A. 


While it would be unfair to expect a Zaniolo like impact from Radu, he would certainly be a massive upgrade over Olsen and could learn from Roma’s other keeper Mirante. Roma would also receive cash as part of this deal that could be used to either improve the defense or to partly found the acquisition of a striker, there would of course also be the huge savings on Dzeko’s wages.

Roma are currently going through the process of finding Monchi’s replacement, while the identity of the person is still a mystery, we do know they’ll have to make some important decisions from jump street- trying to repeat the success of the Nainggolan-Zaniolo deal would be a great place to start.



Roma face battle for Serie A Champions League qualification


AS Roma face a end of season battle to qualify for the 2019-20 Champions League, after struggling to break into the top four in Serie A.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are through to the last 16 of this season’s competition, with a second leg against Porto in midweek, however they are in danger of missing out on a sixth consecutive season in Europe’s premier competition.

They have not been in the top four all season, and defeat in the City of Rome derby to Lazio this weekend, leaves them three points outside the top four, with 12 games remaining.

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Is Monchi the man to get Arsenal back on track?

The idea was that, in time, Sven Mislintat would become Arsenal’s Director of Football. The German was lured to the Emirates Stadium on this verbal promise, initially installed as the club’s Head of Recruitment with the understanding that he would move into the more senior role once Arsene Wenger left.

But Wenger departed Arsenal at the end of last season and Mislintat remained in his same role. More importantly, Ivan Gazidis, the man who had identified Mislintat as the man to overhaul Arsenal’s transfer strategy, left for AC Milan at the end of last year. The promise made to Mislintat no longer stood and this forced the former Borussia Dortmund chief out of the club at the start of this month.


Now, however, there are reports claiming Arsenal are on the brink of offering the Director of Football job, or something similar just by another title, to Monchi, the Roma director credited with turning Sevilla into a European force. Some have even stated that a deal has been agreed and that the Spaniard will make the move to North London this summer.

Of course, Monchi has worked with Unai Emery before. The two figures were key to the success enjoyed by Sevilla over the past decade, forming quite the partnership. This is surely central to the decision Arsenal have reportedly taken, looking to draw upon the chemistry that worked so well for Sevilla.

But will Arsenal give Monchi the sort of freedom that Mislintat craved and was ultimately denied? The appointment of the Spaniard will be for nothing if Stan Kroenke and the rest of the board at the Emirates Stadium are unwilling to allow Monchi the chance to mould the club in the way he desires.

Significant structural changes have been made at Arsenal over the past 18 months or so. At first, they were designed to ensure the club transitioned from the Wenger age and into a new era. Now, the new infrastructure must be utilised to give Arsenal the best chance of returning to the top of the English and European game.

Monchi has encountered issues at Roma, with the Serie A club enduring a difficult season after making the semi finals of the Champions League last season. But Monchi is still considered the best in his role in Europe. He would be quite a coup for Arsenal, but they must give him the chance to flourish.

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