In spinning the ‘wheel of fortune’, Claudio Ranieri somehow managed to land the lucky arrow at the feet of Marco Borriello who has joined on a season loan a season with an option to buy.
The Italian has been forced out of Milan after their signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho. With his arrival at the Roma training ground, Trigoria, Ranieri has raised many an eyebrow. For the time being at least the Roma faithful are overjoyed to have ‘Supermarco’ draped in red and yellow.
There isn’t much hidden away inside Marco Borriello. His attributes are visibly obvious. He is the archetypal ‘big man up front’, a battering ram with a decent Serie A scoring record. The real mystery surrounding him is how he will be utilised. The goalless home draw with Cesena might have prompted Ranieri into thinking about his striking options especially as he has publicly stated that Adriano is still some way off being the player he once was. However the question we must ask ourselves is can the former Milan man score the crucial goals that will make I Lupi into a real Scudetto winning outfit?
Let us put aside the conundrum of whether all the strikers at the disposal of the Giallorossi can co-exist. They obviously will not be in the team at the same time so it’s a futile discussion. As fans and followers we want to know if Borriello is going to score goals within the various Roma tactical models. Luca Toni was welcomed with much fanfare last season, a similar player to Marco, yet his five goals from 17 matches did not secure him a contract and his contribution did not deserve one. The Neapolitan hit man does have more mobility than the gigantesque Toni and so may better suit the fluid Roma playing style.
He will need support from both wide areas and centrally if he is to flourish. David Pizarro and Daniele De Rossi can produce the through balls for him to exploit, but on the wings, can the likes of Jeremy Menez and Rodrigo Taddei regularly produce the crosses for him to use his aerial expertise? (also Stefano Guberti, where are you?)
Also how is Francesco Totti going to fit in alongside him? This question was also up for debate during Luca Toni’s stint at the club.
There is one constant however, he does appear to be at his most potent in a front three. His successful spell at Genoa where he hit 19 goals was part of a trident attack, as was last season’s 14 which he managed to score for Leonardo’s Milan. The downside to this upside is that Roma only twice played a front three of Totti, Mirko Vucinic and Toni last season. The problem with that tactic was that it didn’t quite work. So what conclusions can be drawn from the shock arrival of Marco Borriello? Simply put we have more questions than answers.
In amongst the Borriello trumpet blasting, the best arrival at the Stadio Olimpico was that of Nicolas Burdisso. What had turned into a mini soap opera has now ended with the on-off couple finally walking hand in hand into the sunset. An important player last term, the Argentine international will in all probability replace the incoherent Phillipe Mexes alongside Juan. Mexes is certainly one of the finest defenders in Serie A but his last two seasons have been inconsistent and his fuse is inexplicably short as the red mist has often turned into red and yellow cards far too often. Burdisso offers far more assurances but to have Mexes as part of the squad does offer plenty of depth in that area and good central defenders are paramount in all title winning teams.
The injury to John Arne Riise is a further problem that the Coach will need to address. The Norwegian could miss six or more games due to the concussion suffered whilst training with his national squad teammates. There are solutions but none are really satisfactory. Paolo Castellini was signed to be Riise’s alternative but with Champions League matches and the Serie A meeting with Inter, the former Parma player may not be up to the task. Marco Cassetti could fill in on the left with Burdisso on the right and Mexes and Juan in the centre, but undoubtedly the Giallorossi will miss the inexhaustible running of their flame haired full back.