Wild animals often attack because they’re afraid. Kevin Strootman has the aggressive eyes of a tiger, but he’s no longer afraid. Welcome to the never ending story that has now become history. There’s not just a happy ending, but a new beginning: at 26 years old, Strootman is starting out on a new career. “Now I can give my all on the pitch,” he explained from the Dutch international camp. “At the start it was difficult, I was more focused on my knee than on the game. But I had a fantastic holiday, I trained well when I came back and now I feel strong and fit again. I’m definitely out of the tunnel.”
Tonight the verdict is due, and it could change the course of the season. Joining the ranks of Europe’s best clubs isn’t just a matter of prestige, but it’s decisive for Roma’s immediate future in cementing themselves at the top of the Italian game. Getting past this stage is worth between €25m-30m. The Giallorossi have 90 minutes (if extra time and penalties aren’t needed) to remain a great side.
The difficulty with the January transfer window is that no one ever comes out of it completely satisfied. Roma’s activity in particular was hamstrung by the managerial changes midway through the month as Luciano Spalletti replaced Rudi Garcia, and Walter Sabatini set about both trying to identify and bring in (available) players that would suit Spalletti and move on other players who had fallen from favour or simply needed to be got rid of. Continue reading