Il Messaggero (Stefano Carina) Still no sign of progress. Neither Nainggolan, Manolas, Strootman, Spalletti nor De Rossi have seen their respective contractual situations move forward, regardless of how urgent it is to agree on new terms. Whether it’s just a renewal or a pay rise, their situations are the same as they were at the start of the summer.
For some, primarily the coach, it is because that is what they want. “For now I’m sticking with what I have, it gives me a bigger incentive. I’m playing for my future.” In reality, Spalletti’s future with the Giallorossi could have been resolved a long time ago. But he has preferred to wait. “The players are holding the pen that will sign my contract renewal, it depends on results.” Given how much forward planning a club has to do, that doesn’t mean much, because it’s inevitable that Roma cannot wait until May to find out what goals have been achieved (or are still achievable). The impression, therefore, is that the coach is playing for time to understand what the club’s real objective and strategy is. In short, it’s not about money but rather a question of the project.
As it happens, the contract renewals for the team’s key players are also linked to this. Things are proceeding slowly for Strootman, as sporting director Massara explained (“Talks to extend his contract are moving forward, there won’t be any problems”), and – added to the fact that the Dutchman is well aware of the debt of gratitude he owes the club – there is no cause for alarm in this case. However, it’s a different situation for Nainggolan and Manolas. Radja has said several times that he wants to stay and has been reassured by Roma’s promises. He is probably the only one who has made his position so clear, having – among other things – previously rejected a lucrative contract offer from Chelsea. The problem is that talks haven’t moved on since they began to progress last summer. Then a month ago (7th October), Sabatini’s statement (“His renewal isn’t our top priority, he has asked for an improvement, the club is considering it, but I don’t think it will happen. Maybe some performance-related bonuses will be added”) suggested the club had changed its mind, or at least that’s how the player’s entourage saw it. It was partly also due to Nainggolan (who is asking for €4m plus bonuses) being told that he needed to wait until the play-off against Porto was decided, then the end of the transfer window, then for Pallotta’s arrival, then for the management to return from London. Although the former sporting director’s statement came out of the blue, new managing director Gandini hasn’t yet chosen to set things straight. He is currently working on arranging a new meeting with the Belgian after Roma-Plzen (24th November).
It’s a similar story for Manolas. Similar, but not the same, because on 1st October the club made the defender an offer. As is the case at all Italian clubs, the lion’s share of the contract is taken up by defining individual and team bonuses. However, given that Roma rejected a €40m bid from Arsenal for him this summer, the defender didn’t believe it was a fair offer, since the proposed wage didn’t match 10% of his market value (a line of thinking that many players now follow). The Greek doesn’t want to accept less than €3m (plus bonuses) while Roma won’t go above €2.5m. After more than a month, there has been no signal from the club that they are changing their mind. And talking of signals, De Rossi is expecting one soon given that he will be able to sign for another club in January.