The different approaches Roma, Inter & Milan took to comply with FFP

manolas

In many ways June 30th is an even more significant deadline than the last day of the transfer window since that is when the fiscal year for many clubs ends. For the clubs who also have to meet Financial Fair parameters, or who want to avoid having FFP restrictions in the first place, it’s an especially important deadline to get their houses in order. We have seen Inter, Roma and Milan- three clubs who have FFP restrictions- and Juventus, who want to avoid having parameters set upon them, handle this deadline in very different ways. 

Let’s start with Inter who thanks to their very strong youth system have been able to remain complaint without having to sell any significant starters in recent years. This strategy has worked very well for the nerazzurri since the only time sacrificing a prospect has really come back to haunt them is with Nicolo’ Zaniolo, so despite that setback the club decided to continue with this approach.

This year they sold Andrea Pinamonti to Genoa for 18 million (with a gentleman’s agreement for a buy back), Zinho Vanheudsen to Standard Liege as well as Andrea Adorante to Parma and Marco Sala to Sassuolo as part of the Sensi deal- interesting only the Sala part of the transaction was announced on June 30th for fiscal reasons.

Roma on the other hand continued to sell established players in an effort to comply with Financial Fair Play, since they won’t be able to count on the Champions League revenues after failing to qualify for the next edition, they had even more urgency to shed some of their higher salaries. 

In addition to Kostas Manolas joining Napoli (a deal expected to be announced on June 30th) for his full exit clause and Gerson being sold to Dinamo Moscow for 10 million, the giallorossi also rekindled their relationship with Juventus, which had been rather frosty since the bianconeri exercised Miralem Pjanic’s exit clause a few years ago, with the interesting Leonardo Spinazzola for Luca Pellegrini swap.

Just like with Inter announcing the Sala transaction right before their fiscal year ended, Roma using timing to their advantage. As part of the deal for Manolas, the giallorossi will also acquire Amadou Diawara to replace Daniele De Rossi- but his acquisition for 18 million will be announced after the sale of the Greek defender so they can get the incoming plusvalenza at end of fiscal year 2019 and place the expense to acquire the Napoli midfielder in next year’s.

Gianluigi-Donnarumma

Let’s move on to Milan who recently struck a deal with UEFA to get more time to balance their financial books after the disastrous Chinese era. In exchange for sitting out this edition of the Europa League, the rossoneri have now an extra year to get their balance sheet in order, this will allow them to not have to rush the sale of some players who can bring in some significant plusvalenze, especially goal keeper Gigio Donnarumma, whose departure would also save Milan 24 million in wages before taxes the next two years.

In addition to Donnarumma, new sporting director Massara will work with Maldini and Boban on selling players who failed to live to expectations (Rodriguez, Laxalt, Biglia) and those who can bring in a big plusvalenza like Kessie, Cutrone and Suso (to be clear not all of the players listed in this paragraph will be sold)

While they failed to land promising Turkish defender Kabak, we can expect Milan to continue targeting players with significant upside who also have fairly low salaries like Theo Hernandez, Gianluca Mancini and Dani Ceballos- this will help Milan keep their payroll in check while also landing players who can either be an important part of their future or a candidate to net a big plusvalenza down the road.

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Juventus continue to look for ways to avoid having Financial Fair Play parameters slapped on them to begin with by selling some of the prospects they had acquired in previous years. The end of the co ownership provision a few years ago, started the trend of young players being sold with options to buy and counter options to buy back like in the cases of Emil Audero (whom Sampdoria just kept) and Roberto Mandragora, whom Udinese bought for 20 million while Juventus had right to buy him back for 24 million.

While Juventus didn’t have to sell Dybala and/or Pjanic after acquiring Ronaldo, they ended up paying for the former Real Madrid striker by selling Audero, Mandragora, Orsolini, Cerri and Sturaro- they are starting to make a down payment for their next big addition (likely De Ligt) by selling Spinazzola to Roma- look for Paratici to continue this trend.

 

Which Serie A team could De Rossi join next?

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During last Monday’s press conference at the CONI, Francesco Totti certainly didn’t hold back when it came time to explaining why he was leaving Roma. As a matter a fact Er Puppone bombed atomically like Inspectkah Deck on the first verse of “Triumph” when he explained that the Boston based ownership’s master plan was to remove Romans from Roma.

But an unintended consequence of the feud between the players born and raised in Italy’s capital and president Pallotta and his shadow adviser Franco Baldini is that now Daniele De Rossi has reportedly decided to play for another Serie A club rather than go to MLS or Boca Junior. On top of the purely emotional factor of seeing a bandiera like De Rossi play for another team, there’s also the fact that he’s still an above average player at his position as long as you don’t use him for more than 20/25 starts a season.

But where could Daniele De Rossi go next? While we can certainly exclude Lazio (at least let’s hope so), there are numerous options at his disposal:

Juventus- the bianconeri have tried to sign De Rossi numerous times this decade and he could still be a useful player to them in the midfield. But with Gigi Buffon no longer a the club, the Old Lady can’t count on having him as a recruiter, the two are very close as demonstrated by the fact the former Italy keeper attended De Rossi’s last match at the Olimpico. Not sure Chiellini and Bonucci can have the same impact as Buffon when it comes to convincing him to join the dark side.

Inter- the nerazzurri offered De Rossi a multi year deal back in 2017 and Antonio Conte would love repeating the Andrea Pirlo signing at his new club. Inter have agreed to terms with Sassuolo for Stefano Sensi, are determined to keep Roberto Gagliardini and are the overwhelming favorites to sign Niccolo’ Barella- there’s no doubt De Rossi would fit in quite well with this Italian nucleus and would serve as a great mentor to this trio.

Inter can also offer Champions League football to De Rossi, a substantial salary and the former Roma captain has already played for Conte on the Azzurri. If playing on a top team is De Rossi’s priority, Inter certainly checks a lot of boxes.

Napoli- the partenopei are the clear favorites to sign his teammate Kostas Manolas and De Rossi would be an intriguing alternative in the midfield especially if Diawara and Allan are sold. But while the intense rivalry between the clubs is less of a factor for the Greek defender, seeing De Rossi with a Napoli jersey would likely be an extra tough pill to swallow for Roma fans, an entity De Rossi has no beef with unlike the ownership group.

Milan- the rossoneri are looking to shed high wages from their balance sheet and are targeting up and coming players who can either turn into stars. Could they make an exception for De Rossi? He certainly would be a great mentor for Giampaolo’s new squad, but lack of Champions League football and being further along the rebuilding process, could make Inter more appealing should De Rossi want to move to Milano.

Sampdoria- the blucerchiati’s president Ferrero is obsessed with Roma and his dream is to eventually buy the club. But in the meantime, he’s doing all he can to recreate the giallorossi vibe in Liguria. He recently just hired Eusebio Di Francesco to be the manager and has offered Francesco Totti a significant role as a director at the club.

If De Rossi’s main priority isn’t competing for a title or playing for one more season in the Champions League, Sampdoria can offer him a very intriguing destination, one that would also likely upset Roma fans less than say Napoli, Juventus, Inter or Milan.

Atalanta- the Bergamaschi are an intriguing dark horse now that they are in the Champions League. They’ve been pretty ambitious in the early stages of the transfer window by extending Pasalic’s loan and signing Luis Muriel, if that weren’t enough, they even offered Gigi Buffon the opportunity to return to Serie A. At the moment the former Juventus keeper is leaning towards replacing his friend Casillas at Porto, but wouldn’t it be something to see him and his good friend De Rossi playing for Gasperini next season?  

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

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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.

spalletti

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

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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.

Monchi

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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