Roma’s ransom for Romagnoli – Time to turn attention elsewhere

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Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

There are so many different ‘in the know’ media outlets both on social media and in print form that it is hard to know what to trust and believe, especially when it comes to the mercato, and Milan are linked with every player under the sun.

That being said, it is pretty difficult to deny that Galliani and Mihajlovic have serious interest in Roma defender Alessio Romagnoli.

Now, Milan’s defensive frailties last season are very well documented. With so many different combinations used, including Alex, Philippe Mexes, Gabriel Paletta, Adil Rami and Cristian Zapata used at centre-back, and the likes of Salvatore Bocchetti, Daniele Bonera and Cristian Zaccardo employed as full-backs despite being natural central defenders.

It was a bit of a circus in all honesty. Nothing really worked despite the chopping and changing, and their wasn’t a partnership that Milansti could instil a great deal of faith in.

Consequently, Milan conceded 50 goals, the most in the top 10 in Serie A aside from Napoli, who scored 70 goals (14 more than the Rossoneri) to offset the 55 they let in.

In fact, during 2013-14 Il Diavolo let in 49 goals, which was 10 goals more than the amount conceded in the previous season in which we finished third. Ultimately, this has led me to the conclusion that it is very difficult to make strides in Serie A without a solid defence.

Looking at the squad, the full-backs we have available such as Mattia De Sciglio, Luca Antonelli and Ignazio Abate are enough to make me more inclined towards purchasing a quality centre-back first.

The mercato approach in terms of defenders hasn’t really begun the right way in my opinion. Allowing Adil Rami (a quality defender on his day) to leave, regardless of how unhappy he was, and extending the contract of Philippe Mexes, who has been treading water in the squad for some time now, doesn’t make much business sense to me.

I understand that Rami had fallen out of favour due to his apparent breakdown in relations with the staff (namely Pippo Inzaghi), but under Sinisa Mihajlovic there was a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to see him become a dependable defender again.

Nevertheless, that ship has sailed, yet the only way any Milan supporter could pick up an ounce of understanding from the whole situation would be if Mexes was used as a back-up and that only.

Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

I’m sure there are many different opinions about who Milan should target for the defence, and how much each is worth, but it makes sense to stick to what has been indicated already in terms of rumours.

Bringing the article back round to the subject matter at hand, we must discuss Alessio Romagnoli, the defender that Milan seem to want the most this mercato on early indications.

First of all, it is important to acknowledge that Romagnoli is indeed a very talented player with a lot of potential to become a great all-round defender.

Forget the price tag for a moment; at 20 years of age he is one of the better prospects in world football on the defensive side, with previous coaches such as Zdenek Zeman including him in his first team squad for Roma at the age of just 17.

It became apparent that Alessio possessed the attributes to become a top defender when Roma picked him up aged 9, despite him being a central midfielder when first signed. A very versatile player; he can play anywhere on the left side of defence from centre-back to full-back, possibly to wing-back.

He has been described as the ‘jewel of the Roma academy’ and those claims are not unfounded as Romagnoli has appeared 26 times for the Italian national team from U16 through to U21 level.

Roma made the decision to loan him to Sampdoria last season in order to secure more game time for their prized young asset, and they were not to be disappointed as he appeared 31 times for Samp, scoring twice and also picking up two assists.

Sampdoria conceded just 42 goals last season, the least outside the top three, in no small part down to the partnership between Romagnoli and Matias Silvestre, and lets not forget who was coaching the team last year.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

As much as I have just talked him up as the next Maldini, there are understandably reasons why there is a lot of frustration surrounding the Romagnoli situation.

For starters, Roma are clearly playing hard ball. If the media are to believed, they have declined every offer so far, from the starting bids in the high-teens right through to now and the €25million they said they wanted.

That alone for me is enough indication that they are very reluctant to let go of a potential future star, especially to a Serie A rival, despite how desperate their own financial situation is in the mercato.

I am not referring to the possibility they may be bankrupt or anything, but if you believe what is being said online, Roma are actively interested in Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. City are after around €25-30million (again, according to reports), and Roma don’t have the cash to stump up.

Putting two and two together, it could be inferred that cashing in on Romagnoli is one way they can achieve their aim of getting Dzeko, however it is also possible they want to shift other players first.

As the offers from Milan keep rising, Roma keep declining, and the anger grows from the apparent mixed signals being sent out by Sabatini.

Twenty-five million Euros is a lot of money for a 20-year-old defender; regardless of how much of a future investment it is. The negotiations have gone on long enough in my eyes, and if Milan get drawn into a bidding frenzy they could end up massively overpaying for the player.

After all, last season was the first season that Romagnoli became an established starter anywhere, having playing just 11 times for Roma in the league during 2013-14.

Hypothetically, lets say Roma are holding out for the €30million that would definitely secure Dzeko. Surely, there are more established defenders out there who could be bought for that kind of money; players in their prime who could instantly transform the side. Who knows, perhaps even two quality centre-backs could be brought in for that money.

Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Links with the likes of Kamil Glik and Aymen Abdennour have not been far away this mercato (despite the Non-EU slot problem that Abdennour seems to create) and both are players in their prime. Add Nikola Maksimovic and Samuel Umtit to a list of players that could be considered better value alternatives. Wishful speculation about Mats Hummels has adjusted the sight line further more; as unlikely as that may be it has put things into perspective.

For me, the cat-and-mouse chase has gone on too long. Its time to give up on Romagnoli, and congratulations to Roma for wasting our time trying to make things work.

Article by Oliver Fisher

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Jibola

Glik… thats 1 defender worthy of Milan. Strong, experienced, leader and fantastic set play header. Hope Galliani gets his head straight and go for him because he’s better and much cheaper and more ready for bigger challenge.

GodMilano

u r right but why the hell in the earth we are not going to spend 30 mil and take hummels??………….forget romagnoli…….and even when we have been confirmed by our baldie that witsel wont be joining us….!!!!!

ACMilanLover

Glik & Maksimovic both could be closed for 30-35Million in my opinion …

ACMilanLover

Read on Football Italia about Kovacic available for 20Million .. That would be a steal … What say?? Forget Witsel and get Pirlo 2.0

Nicodab84

I think Witsel right now is better than Kovacic…defensively way better. But Kovacic is going to get better! Dont think Inter is going to let him go to us for that amount of money, but if that is true…20 mio for him! I would prefer Milan to buy him rather than Witsel for 30-40 mio.

ACMilanLover

I am just thinking … Galliani can play on Inter’s nerve and we should offer them 25 Million … If you look at our midfield, we need a creative genius like Kovacic …. & lets not forget .. Inter players play better for Milan ….

Nicodab84

jajaj…that is true!

Beacon

I just dnt understand y we stick to this guy…we have a lot of proven top defenders out there that we can get for 15mil.. Or 10mil…Roma are not willing to let him go and we’ve realise Rami..am afraid Galliani and Miha are up to something.

Truth

Hit the nail on the head again, Oliver! Great article. Nice to learn about Romagnoli’s background.

goodwillie

i’m getting sick and tired of this romagnoli issue. C’mon if roma aren’t willing to sell then go for someone else the likes of “….” and “….”. Anyway wots up with the witsel negotiation? If he’s not coming then go for gundogan. Enough with the jumping jacks and all.

Nicodab84

I really like Gundogan but he got injured and stoped playing for 400 days. Dont know if Milan should take such a risk. Besides he renewed his contract with Dortmund.

nick

I think Romagnoli is worth the wait but I agree we must identify alternatives. I personally prefer defenders that play in Serie A because the league is very tactical compared to the rest of Europe.

Definitely yes to Maksimovic and Glik. Alex is on his way out. So we need 2 defenders.

Wish we had bought Davide Zappacosta who is an excellent RB. In my opinion, he is better than Abate and DeSciglio.

falsephrophet

Well, no 25m for them then..

xiangfu

Comment: i think umtiti is the best alternative to romagnoli, and if romagnoli really want milan he should wait till next summer, and if kovacic is 20m its better than witsel
forza milan

acquaintance

Hummels

Lucas

Oli, do you know If The latest bid, 22M + bonuses was also rejected?

Great article by the way.

Azad

Yes!

ACMilanLover

Bro, post the 22M bid, there was a 25M bid and that was rejected too ….

Sheva

they let go of t.silva and now they want to pay 25 plus bonuses for this acerbi

pippo

Great article, i wish i could read more materials like this on this blog. More analysis, more articles with opinions and suggestions…Also i would love to see some interesting polls, for example, who should Milan buy next, or who should be the first player that we need to offload. More diversity to this blog!

Nicodab84

Polls would be very nice!

GreNoLi

Plenty of fish on the sea,forget about romagnoli.we only make our life difficult by giving 25 mil to roma as our direct competition,we should look elsewhere with eu passport.dragovic from kiev looks solid,I don’t mind having sokratis back,eze garay,van beek,de vrij.I’m sure us fans can name more solid and proven cb out there,miha is a defender too,so he’s not totally clueless,I’m positive he have few names up his sleeves.everybody knows milan are smoking with money,and they tried to squeeze our pocket with their premium asking price.but don’t forget,galliani used to made an offer they can’t refuse,let him work,and we can… Read more »

Nicodab84

You are right! That is why i dont understand him chasing Romanogli (Probably i am Wrong about this CB and Miha knows why he wants him) he could easily find a lot of talented players for less money.
I like Dragovic. I am pretty sure that De Vrij is expensive too!

EL92

Comment:

Jose mauri was impressive in today’s game. Great passing and confidence

sola

Well, if Ely could just step it up a lil-bit, only glik will be enough

Ross Onero

Still too early to tell

successor

Why Kovacic and not Oscar but for a NO to Witsel

AC Milan Lover

Oscar could be really expensive with Chelsea demanding 35+ M while Kovacic might be available for much less (about 20-25M) with Inter in a little financially tricky situation … Plus Kovacic is proven in Serie A

Alvi

Sell mexes zaccardo and alex bring in balanta mamanna and hector moreno all can be bought in 30millions and if u want more than enough bring in criscito back

plere

LOL, too much playing Football Manager eh?

will

Ibra witsel hummels will get us guaranteed into cl top 3 minimum competing for the title what is taking so long we need them.now get rid of these useless players we don’t need matri noce Alex n buy the ones we do need

dejan10

Spot on article — my thoughts exactly. Paying Roma three times the price just so they can get Dzeko is beyond ridiculous.

JaRossoneri

Nice article… And yep, time to give up on this wild goose chase… IMHO, its obvious whats happening, roma dont want to sell him to a rival, but they are using Milans bids as a way to force Arsenal to up their bid, its actually pretty clever… At this point I think G recognizes whats happening, if we stop bidding on him, at the end of the day Roma may decide to let us have him since our bid far exceeds Arsenals and would go farther towards helping Roma get Dzeko…problem is, we cant afford to wait and see, so… Read more »

Eldo

Kamil glik is a good choice. This is like we bought nesta (lazio captain).
Just an old info, we are good when we signed other’s captains…nesta, rui costa, oddo, bierhoff,

Eldo

Kamil glik is a good choice. This is like we bought nesta (lazio captain).
Just an old info, we are good when we signed other’s captains…nesta, rui costa, oddo, bierhoff.

GreNoLi

In today’s match,matri and monto were missing again,not even on the bench.not part of miha plan maybe?matri/monto+cash for glik/de vrij would sounds reasonable,if we go for serie a based player.I hope milan would model the team on investing big on youth and wonderkid head hunting,let them grow/loan them out with no buy out option,like chelsea did with van ginkel,salah,atsu,romeu.not only they gain 1st team experience,their value can also grow.

trequartista

I love to see romganoli in milan jersey, but if roma dont let him go for 25 million, just forget it
Get hummels and glik as our prime CB partner next season

Tyorex

In the long run, I’m pretty sure Milan will be better off looking for alternatives. Apart from Umtiti (who of cos will cost as much as Romagnoli), I don’t really know which better left-footed defenders are on the market tbh. Any ideas since Miha is pretty insistent on a left-footed defender….

Wes

The best defense is ball possession. We did tie as many games as we won, more goals in the back of the net surely would see us move the table from 10th in the upcoming season. I think Lopez didn’t organize the defense as well as Abbiati (when he played)…I agree we need a more stable / regular defense….getting a good centre-back pairing can take some time…even if we bring in additional players for the position it might take a season or two before they really get in sync with the GK and other players on the line. Milan also… Read more »

Vinnie

I would be happy to see them splash the 30 mill on Romagnoli. Clearly, he will give Miha a reliable reference point, immediately shore up the defense, amd hold potential to be the best Italian defender the next decade.

These guys only come along every so often.

Nesta cost 27 mill. Make Romagnoli the most expensive defender ever and nail this deal already.