The wage bill has never been so low, which will sound bad but it is in fact music to the ears of those at Trigoria. It might not last long, because contract renewals will raise the bar again, but this is how it is: Roma have reduced their wage bill to just under €92m following the last transfer window. That has never happened before under James Pallotta. The reasons for this aren’t many and are primarily down to meeting Financial Fair Play targets and a result of missing out on income from the Champions League.
The main objective has been achieved. Wilshere didn’t arrive, nor was Spalletti given the satisfaction of signing Borja Valero, but the club have achieved the aim which they set themselves at the end of last spring: “We will reduce our wage bill to €90m,” the directors said. Said and done. It is some €20m less than the wage bill was in September 2015 (€113m) and €10m less than it was at the start of the summer transfer window, thanks to selling Pjanic, Maicon, De Sanctis, Keita, Torosidis and the temporary departures of Doumbia and Vainqueur. It’s easy to see that this won’t make the fans happy, but on the other side of the Atlantic these figures are partly why Pallotta is feeling so satisfied, since the president is convinced that he has put a top level squad at Spalletti’s disposal for this season.
A top level squad means finishing in the top 3. And finishing at that top level means keeping the team’s best players, as it’s difficult to keep them when constantly having to make savings. And so therefore that figure of €92m could soon increase. The €10m saving, as well as the bonus payments which weren’t paid out to the players for Champions League qualification, will be reinvested in improving the contracts of Nainggolan, Florenzi and Manolas. An agreement was reached with the Belgian at least a month ago, it just needs to be ratified: he will earn around €4m. An increase for Florenzi to take him over the €2m mark is guaranteed as well. There is more caution around Manolas though: Roma have promised the Greek that he will receive a substantial increase, but it’s also true that at Trigoria people currently aren’t happy with the defender’s attitude. What effect will this have? The renewal will come, but there won’t be any rush. But equally don’t rule out any further twists in this story in January or next summer.
These are things for the future though: the present is the Festa della Famiglia and the friendly against San Lorenzo. There are currently some moderate concerns over De Rossi, who will undergo more tests on his calf after the ones he had with the national team. Spalletti will have his fingers crossed for him, because the league and Europa League are on the horizon, even though De Rossi will miss the first 3 games of the Europa League after his red card against Porto. The competition starts on the 15th in Plzen, in a stadium which will be largely empty after UEFA disciplined the club for racism from the fans. The stadium will also be the starting point for Totti’s last European campaign: “I want this to be a special season, for me and for the fans,” the captain wrote on his blog.
This article is a translation – the original was written by Davide Stoppini for La Gazzetta dello Sport.