Roma working the transfer market, Destro in, Borini out
The 2011-2012 Serie A campaign had promised so much for AS Roma, they had just gained new American owners who had promised to back them financially to allow the Giallorossi to once again compete in the transfer market, they had managed to prise former Barcelona midfielder Luis Enrique away from his coaching position with the B team of the Catalan giants to appoint him as the new head coach with the expectation that he would bring the ‘Tiki Taka’ football that had in recent years revolutionised FC Barcelona to the Stadio Olimpico. However the campaign proved to be one of major disappointment for Roma with Enrique’s methods not quite connecting well enough will all members of the squad and as a result of inconsistent performances by the team it was to be a year of mediocrity from Roma with ‘I Lupi’ finishing in seventh place in Serie A and as a result not qualifying for any European competition for the 2012-2013 season. At the end of the season Luis Enrique was dismissed despite having a year left on his contract and the iconic Zdenek Zeman returned to the club for his second spell in charge. Zeman often revered by the Roma fans for his revolutionary tactics and relationship with the players in particular Francesco Totti, has set about rejuvenating a Roma squad that has been bereft of real quality for a number of years and has shown this with his as yet sensible and economical behaviour in the transfer market this summer.
It was announced last week that Fabio Borini was to become Brendan Rodgers’ first signing at Liverpool with Roma allowing their young striker to be reunited with the former Swansea manager at Anfield for a fee of around €13m. This was a move that was met with a certain sense of unease by the Roma faithful with fans questioning why they had allowed their second highest goalscorer in the previous campaign to leave the club without any sign of a replacement signing on the horizon, however Zeman did indeed have a plan. Borini had in his only season with the Giallorossi scored nine goals in Serie A only two behind Daniel Osvaldo’s eleven and whilst this low number of goals from their two main strikers may well be a reflection of Roma’s poor final league position it must be remembered that it was a debut season in Rome for both players. The general expectation was that Borini would kick on for Roma next season with the ever ageing Francesco Totti expected to play even less of a part in the club’s campaign with his fantastic footballing career ebbing quickly towards its end. Borini’s record of ten goals in twenty six appearances was on the whole impressive for a debut season at a club of the magnitude of Roma and his performances even saw the Bentivoglio born forward earn a place in Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad for the European championships in Ukraine and Poland although the former Roma striker did not make a single appearance throughout Italy’s route to the final of the tournament which they would go on to lose convincingly against the irresistible Spanish.
It was made evidently clear by last season’s collective lack of goals that Roma would need to replace Fabio Borini and Zdenek Zeman set about completing this goal quickly, there was the annual link between Roma and Fiorentina’s talismanic Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic which is the same with any top club in Italy once the transfer window opens and whilst it seems like he will leave the Florence based club sooner rather than later his destination will not be Rome. Rumours then started to appear in the Italian media that Roma were indeed interested in signing the co-owned Genoa and Siena forward Mattia Destro with the former Internazionale man moving closer to a permanent move to Genoa with ‘I Rossoblu’ submitting an offer to secure full registration of the player however this was no guarantee that he wouldn’t leave Genoa straight away just mere assurance that they would receive a full transfer fee. Mattia Destro in his debut season with Siena registered twelve goals in Serie A perfectly illustrating just why he had been on the books of Internazionale Milan, this goal tally just two behind Jovetic alerted several of Italy’s top clubs with reported interest from AC Milan as they look to try and replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic following his record breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain however the interest from Milan was purely speculation with representatives from both Siena and Genoa simply meeting in Milan to discuss the deal for Destro involving their clubs respectively. Destro’s high level of performance in Serie A in the past season very much like Borini was noticed by Prandelli and he was included as backup in the final twenty three man squad for Euro 2012 however with no injuries Destro did not travel to the tournament.
It has often been said that Zdenek Zeman works fantastically well with forwards with his tactical system often giving them great opportunities to get forward and put themselves in positions to score a significant number of goals, which is indeed something Roma need to improve on from last season. Roma icon Francesco Totti last week said this of Zeman and the Czech’s tactics ” With Zeman’s playing system, I could score 20 goals a season even as an old man” This bodes well for young Destro who following his impressive year with the Tuscan club last season will be looking to impress even further in the Italian first city and it is expected that a forward pairing of Destro and Osvaldo will work wonders for Roma in the upcoming season. The deal agreed between Genoa and Roma for Destro is in financial terms an astute move from AS Roma with them agreeing to pay just €7m for the twenty year old forward. This leaves the overall profit made from the sale of Borini and the signature of Destro at €6m with this money being spent in yet again another wise way by Zeman on the signature of American international Michael Bradley to sure up the Romans in the centre of midfield.
With Roma having replaced a striker with a slightly younger model who in the past campaign scored more goals and having also made a profit of €6m it is considered that Roma are working the transfer market to their favour thus far this summer, after last summer’s heavy spending to try and force the club into the upper echelons of European football quickly it appears that with Zeman at the helm the Giallorossi are taking a much more patient approach to the transfer market purchasing players when it is necessary and for the right price. This can only bode well for Roma in the upcoming Serie A season as they look to re-establish themselves among Italy’s elite of which they have been apart from for far too long.
Written by Chris Winterburn