Another Italian Super Cup and another match against Inter beckons as AS Roma and Claudio Ranieri prepare for the Serie A precursor this weekend.
The ‘Giallorossi’s’ build up had been going quite well up until last weeks 5-1 drubbing received at the hands of Olympiakos This unexpected Greek tragedy has now put a huge wrench of a spanner in the somewhat delicate and intricate Roman workings at exactly the wrong time.
Recently quoted as being the ‘anti Inter’ by new national team technician Cesare Prandelli, the capital club is expected to mount another serious challenge for Serie A and some pundits are touting them as potential Scudetto winners. The signing of Adriano is seen as the final piece in the red and yellow jigsaw, but delving deeper into the summer preparations will uncover a slightly more precarious situation than what the glossy exterior would like to suggest.
The aforementioned Adriano has yet to really spark in any way. His performances during pre-season against very modest opposition like Grosseto and Levante, have not produced the flurry of goals expected by L’Imperatore. His fitness is still in question, and the major worry for Roma fans and for the club as a whole, is how he will react to a less than impressive start to his Roma career? Lest it be forgotten that the Brazilian can make Antonio Cassano look like Mother Theresa when things don’t go according to plan. His qualities are well documented but so are his flaws and it’s important that followers of the club bear this in mind, because with all love affairs there will be highs and lows.
In mentioning affairs, the Nicolas Burdisso saga continues to rumble on. Money seems to be the stumbling block, Roma are not quite offering what the ‘Nerazzurri’ want for the Argentine. From Inter’s point of view they would happily allow this to drag on up to Christmas if need be. Why should they want to strengthen their main rival on the cheap?
Roma are desperate to raise more funds but they can’t find buyers for the transfer listed Cicinho, Doni and Julio Baptista. The latter does have admirers but is refusing to leave unless an ‘important’ club requests his services. A very frustrating time for the Sensi family who also have to contend with the massive speculation on who will be the next club owners. Massimo Moratti must be smiling into his posh muesli each and every morning.
The Giallorossi player market may see further developments as the likes of Alessio Cerci, Stefano Okaka, Marco Andreolli and Leandro Greco will surely be farmed out to further their development. The least well known of this quartet, Greco, could find himself in fact remaining as he has had an impressive pre-season. The midfielder has been talked up by the Roman press as well as by Ranieri and he might have shown enough to suggest he could add some useful depth in a red and yellow jersey. A player worth looking out for as the season develops.
Dragging the attention back to the Super Cup, whispers from within the Roma camp are suggesting that Adriano may drop to the bench in favour of Mirko Vucini and Jeremy Menez who will line up along side Francesco Totti. The formation is still a mystery even though Ranieri had earlier announced that 4-4-2 was his tactic for the coming campaign. Versatility will be key to any Scudetto victory and it shouldn’t be assumed that he will be rigid in his strategies. In fact his main qualities as a coach is his ability to adjust his team and his squad does have players that can take up various roles. Rodrigo Taddei, Simone Perrotta, Vucinic and Menez offer great flexibility, especially in the offensive phase of play.
Julio Sergio suffered an injury scare in the Olympiakos friendly but reports from the capital are suggesting that the custodian will be fit to play. Another interesting facet of the new season will be how this story, from rags to riches if you will, continues. The once forgotten third choice keeper of the Luciano Spalletti era had a watershed season last year, an integral part of the team’s revival. Will this be a fairytale that has come true or was he just a just a one season wonder? The 2010/11 Campionato will determine if Cinderella does get a second invite to the Prince’s ball.