The disease, otherwise known as calciomercato
- Updated: May 19, 2014
Every morning I have (almost) the same routine: Wake up. Eat breakfast. Run. Shower. Get ready for the day. Sit down at my desk and read the morning edition of Corriere dello Sport, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Il Tempo, and Il Messaggero. Each morning I’m welcomed by a host of interviews, club news, and most annoyingly…transfer gossip.
Now like most fans, I do admit I get caught up in the frenzy and angst of the transfer market. The unknown, the rumors, the heartbreak…it makes for great storylines which is one of the reasons why we love calcio. But, for me, this upcoming summer market will be different. After a season in which not even the cruel calcio gods could have foreseen, Roma have been christened by both the media and fans as one of the up and coming clubs in Europe…and rightly so. After two consecutive 7th-placed finishes, manager appointments gone horribly wrong, and a host of bidoni such as Ivan Piris, Mauro Goicoechea, and José Ángel in the fold, Roma finally managed to get everything to “click” this season as Rudi Garcia led La Magica to their highest points total in club history. With players such as Mehdi Benatia, Kevin Strootman, and Miralem Pjanic having had breakout seasons, it’s no wonder why we constantly see them linked with moves away from Roma…it’s a testament to the work that has been put in at the club from top to bottom.
But this summer is different. A whole new gameplan. We’ve seen the previous three summers that Roma aren’t afraid to sell important players (i.e Erik Lamela, Marquinhos) for big prices. It’s almost become a staple of Walter Sabatini: selling players when they reach their highest value and replacing them with younger, less expensive talent. I’ve embraced it. In fact, I’m almost numb to it at this point. I haven’t let myself become emotionally attached because I’ve resigned myself to Sabatini’s philosophy.
But now it’s time to see what Sabatini can really do. He’s going to face his biggest challenge as of yet: take a team that’s built to win now and add to it (let’s also consider fans’ expectations are considerably higher now too), while also avoiding tempation from the huge offers he’s likely to receive for his players.
Ever since he’s purchased the club, we’ve heard words and phrases such as “building a brand” and “becoming one of the biggest clubs in Europe” from president James Pallotta. In order for Roma to continue along this promising path, they’re going to have to keep a tight grasp on their abundance of talent. Players such as Miralem Pjanic aren’t easy to find and they’re even more difficult to replace. While we enter the unknown of the summer transfer market, I have the utmost faith that Roma’s hierarchy are more than adequately prepared to send Roma into the Champions League with a more than worthy team.