Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) Money. A lot of it, and quickly, to keep Roma’s Plan A safe. By participating in the Champions League, which would be guaranteed with a victory against Genoa, the club can honour their financial commitments (over €40 million just to pay the obligatory purchase clauses for players they already have on loan) and avoid losing too many big-name players. One major sale will be required though, and will probably have to be ratified before 30 June in order to balance the club’s books for this financial year, but 2nd place would be a godsend to help avoid having to make a number of sacrifices that would otherwise be inevitable.
Right now, Monchi is working on 3 fronts: reducing the wage bill, even though the contracts of De Rossi (definitely) and Strootman (very probably) will be renewed; scouring the market for promising youngsters who can replace the outbound players without too much trouble; and resolving the question of the coach, since it seems as though Spalletti is already on his way out the door. Roma have decided to wait until the last possible moment before announcing they will be looking for a replacement, because there are still question marks about some coaches’ availability. Emery hasn’t yet been sacked by PSG and could hold onto his job if he wins the Coupe de France – which seems almost a given – against Angers next Saturday. The management are interested in – but not entirely convinced by – Paulo Sousa, who failed to qualify for Europe with Fiorentina. The only coach who has been contacted and has firmly stated he is available is Eusebio Di Francesco, who yesterday spoke cautiously about his future at Sassuolo (“I could also stay”), as he is well aware – like Gasperini, when Roma sounded him out – that he isn’t the first choice.
For now, the rest of the transfer talk is simply rumours and idle hypotheses, with the exception of the talks with Lorenzo Pellegrini’s entourage, as Roma have decided to take up their option to buy him back from Sassuolo for €10 million. However, they are yet to come to an agreement with the player, who needs to sign a new contract. Moreover, Pellegrini has a lot of tempting offers and wants to play his cards right. Meanwhile on Saturday, as Chievo played Roma, the two clubs’ directors talked about Lucas Castro, the midfielder who scored the game’s first goal and was then substituted at half time: it could be a good deal as he is out of contract in 2018 and is coming off an excellent season (5 goals). But, at 28 years old, he isn’t a priority for Monchi, who is more interested in Jakub Jankto, born in ’96, who has been a revelation for Udinese this season and has already made his debut for the Czech Republic.
But Roma primarily need defenders. A centre back, most of all, who can fill the void left by Manolas or Rudiger, and possibly a right back given Bruno Peres’ disappointing season; the club are intending to sell him as long as a club meets their €12 million valuation. The ideal signing would be Jerome Boateng, who can play both positions and has fallen out with Bayern Munich, but the costs involved would be enormous. It would be easier to go after one of Chelsea’s reserves, with both Zouma (French) and Christensen (Danish) equally highly thought of by Monchi. Nor should Lenglet (class of ’95) be ruled out; Monchi signed him for Sevilla in January after watching him at Saint Etienne for a long time. Among the Italian options, meanwhile, is Francesco Acerbi, who is likely to leave Sassuolo, but Roma don’t intend to spend much money on a 29 year old centre back. Then there is the matter of the vice-Dzeko: Monchi is considering the former Roma forward Sanabria, who has also been playing in Sevilla with Real Betis. Finally, Papu Gomez is still a target as a new winger, and this time Atalanta are open to selling him. Verona, newly promoted back to Serie A, are dreaming of bringing back Iturbe, who Torino don’t seem interested in signing permanently.