Roma Don’t Need To Sell Miralem Pjanic & Radja Nainggolan To Meet FFP Targets

Italian football finance analysts have revealed that Roma can meet Financial Fair Play targets without having to sell Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan this summer. Alberto Medici, writing for, highlights the club’s own financial reports but underlines that there are still many factors in play that could result in one of the Giallorossi’s stars being sold.

Recently the rumours linking Miralem Pjanic, Roma’s midfield leader, with a move to one of Europe’s big clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona have become more insistent. Some experts have even said that his move to Juventus is already done. Realisingthat the 26 year old Bosnian is a player of world class ability, these big clubs have been knocking on the doors of Trigoria and are said to be ready to meet his €38m release clause.

On the other hand though, Pjanic isn’t the only player who’s in the transfer spotlight at Roma: Radja Nainggolan is also being courted by some of Europe’s biggest sides, and it seems that Antonio Conte wants to sign him at all costs for his new adventure with Chelsea. The rumours linking the Belgian with a €40m-45m move away are also increasing.

But do Roma really need to sell? What does the future hold for Roma without the quality of the Tuzla-born midfielder and without Ninja’s warrior spirit? Economically speaking, what would be appropriate offers for them?

Pjanic has had an impressive season both from a statistical perspective (12 goals and 13 assists in all competitions) as well as from his personal contribution to the team (the wonderful free kick against Juventus for example, or the penalty that secured Champions League qualification against Bayer Leverkusen) and so at a technical and sporting level there’s no doubt that he would be an immense loss for Spalletti’s team.

It’s true that Kevin Strootman is set to return, but the two players provide greater value by playing together rather than one playing instead of the other. Strootman, the ‘washing machine’, is excellent at breaking up opponents’ moves and starting his own team’s play, while Pjanic is a perfect regista, able both to dictate the tempo and to have an influence around the opposition penalty area like few others in Europe. His magisterial free kicks almost guarantee goals now, such is the frequency with which he has scored from impossible positions.

From a purely financial and accounting point of view the Bosnian has a residual value of €5.46m, stemming from the fee of €14.3m paid to sign him from Lyon minus the amortisation value of €8.84m. Therefore if an offer of €38m, which is the payment of the release clause, was made then it would bring a capital gain of €32.5m into club’s funds.

However, the Bosnian’s departure would leave a big hole in the quality of the Giallorossi’s midfield and, as the last few transfer windows have shown, quality has a high price – particularly when you are looking to supplement the area where games are won and lost: the midfield.

Nainggolan has had a great season in terms of his performances: the Belgian has in fact been his team’s best performer on many occasions and is a true leader in the capital side’s squad. Six goals in 33 Serie A games, along with one assist, are an excellent return for a midfielder. After Spalletti moved him to play in a more advanced position (in a similar way to Perrotta), his contribution to the team exploded and made him into a real linchpin of the team’s attacking play.

From a financial-accounting perspective, Nainggolan has a residual value of €11.3m, which comes from transfer fee of €13.3m to sign him from Cagliari and an amortisation value of €2m. In order to generate the same capital gain as Pjanic, the offer for the Belgian will have to be higher, much closer to the €45m which many experts are already saying English sides like Manchester United and Chelsea are ready to pay. With a fee of €45m, Pallotta’s team would then bring in a capital gain of €33.7m.

Last summer Roma invested a lot to reinforce their attacking options (in particular with Dzeko, Salah and Falque), and were therefore forced to sell the youngster Romagnoli to Milan (making a profit of €25m, not taking into account possible future payments) in order to balance the books.

The club had to make this sacrifice in order not to overspend after signing the “Settlement Agreement” with UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body on 8th May, 2015, which made the monitoring of their finances a necessity for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. In fact, the main objective of the agreement was to guarantee that the Giallorossi broke even as per the terms of the Financial Fair Play regulations.

AS Roma SpA, after recognising and admitting exceeding their budget for the monitored period in 2014/15, were forced to limit themselves to a total maximum loss of €30m for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 periods. Taking these two financial years as the benchmark, let’s observe how the club’s management have acted during the course of the first year under examination.


The net result, clearly in the negative, is primarily the result of very high operating costs (€196m against just €180m turnover) with a player amortisation value equivalent to 23% of turnover.

After the financial results presented in the biannual report of 31st December, 2015 were published, Roma’s finances appear to be more solid compared to last season, partly due to a better European campaign as well as more capital gains on players (on Romagnoli most of all, as already mentioned) equivalent to €28.9m.

Turnover is also increasing at a proportionally higher rate compared to the costs incurred to generate it: in fact AS Roma will receive more from Champions League television revenue in June 2016 as a result of their qualification to the knockout stages, which didn’t happen in the previous season (commercial income is stable and matchday income has slightly increased).

Gervinho’s sale (with subsequent profit on the player) and the low cost purchases of Perotti and Zukanovic didn’t really change the situation much during the winter transfer window. Looking at the loan situation, during the winter transfer window Iturbe left (but he won’t be signed permanently by Bournemouth) while Doumbia’s situation must also be monitored: these two players had the highest financial value of the players who left and the amount of money to be gained or lost on them will depend on which club they eventually join.

Of those who came in, the futures of Szczesny, Digne, Gyomber and Emerson must all be decided by 30th June, but most of all so does that of El Shaarawy: all these players are on loan with an option to buy, which must be exercised before that date. Nothing prohibits a renegotiation of the loan deal during the summer transfer window though.

Right now, sacrificing Pjanic or Nainggolan isn’t necessary for the club to succeed in reaching their FFP targets. In fact, having two players with such high calibre in the squad is a key step in order to achieve better results on the pitch and therefore a better financial return during the 2016/17 season.

“The 2015/16 season financial report”, according to the statement released by AS Roma, “should present a significant improvement compared to that recorded on 30th June, 2015. This will benefit, for the second year in a row, from income as a result of the club’s participation in the Champions League, and will depend on a number of factors, among which are: the team’s performances in Serie A and the Champions League, the transfers of players made throughout the course of the season, the rate of income from commercial activities and ticket sales, and the evolution of the costs of personnel and player amortisation rates.”

Our assessment is exactly in line and completely in agreement with that presented by the club. Nevertheless, the phrase “transfers of players made throughout the course of the season” could be interpreted in favour of a planned transfer of one of their big players in order to balance the books (remember that Roma still have a negative net worth of €100m, which is no small matter). A worry for Giallorossi fans, or just a sensible financial precaution?

This is a translation – for the original article on click here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s