Poor Stefano Okaka. One moment he is celebrating under the Curva Sud after scoring a wonderful late winner against Siena, and the next he is in South-West London, trying to fit into a new system at a new club and wondering if he will even get any more playing time for his efforts. Hopefully it will prove beneficial and he will be able to return to Rome a better player and have renewed vigour in his attempts to make the starting line-up for la Magica.
The game against Siena was not a classic, but the Giallorossi managed to win it, and this is the true reason why Roma fans can start to feel a bit more positive – because they usually do not win these sorts of games. Now joint second with a Milan side that are as inconsistent as they are entertaining to watch, Claudio Ranieri and his team have a genuine reason to believe that they can finish second in Serie A this season.
Traditionally, Roma fans keep their optimism in check, because of the domination of the teams from the north and the knowledge that those sides will almost always prevail, and the fact that in recent years Roma have become the team to watch, but not the team to win, playing wonderful football that does not translate into consistency or league victories. One worry that is developing is Ranieri’s resistance to the idea of putting some of the talented youngsters that he has into the first-team. Jérémy Ménez is a player who is less-than-impressed with the way things are going for him in Rome, but one who has the ability to be a game changer for the Giallorossi. Selling Ménez would be a terrible move, and he must be given the first-team appearances that his talent merits so he can begin to fit into Ranieri’s system. Fortunately, it looks as if the club are going to keep the Frenchman, after rejecting an €8.5m bid from Paris Saint-Germain for him on transfer day – hopefully this will not turn out to be a delaying tactic.
The most persistent – and worrying – rumour is the interest being shown in Daniele De Rossi by Real Madrid. ‘Capitano Futuro’ has his nickname for a reason, one day he will become the symbol of the club, just as Franceco Totti is at the moment, and spend his career in the Giallorosso colours. Hopefully he will remain at the club despite the interest of Los Bláncos, just as Totti did. The main barrier to his sale (other than the player’s reluctance to leave) is that fact that should De Rossi be sold, it would doubtless end with the sacking of Trigoria by the fans, and would almost certainly be the end of whichever President was foolish enough to allow the deal to go ahead. De Rossi is one of the best midfielders in the world, and must be kept so that the team can be built around him.
Demetrio Albertini has this week stated his belief that Claudio Ranieri will not become the Azzurri Coach following the World Cup in the summer. Marcello Lippi is expected to leave the position after the tournament and Ranieri – in the light of Roma’s good form – has been touted as a possible successor. But the idea of the Coach wanting to leave his beloved Roma after so little time in charge, even for the Italy job, is highly unlikely, and should the team keep performing as they are then the fans will also not want to see him go.
This week, i Lupi need to concentrate on getting enough strikers fit to face Fiorentina, with Okaka gone and Luca Toni definitely out, all eyes will be on il Capitano to make the line-up and inspire his side.
Roma Club Focus 2009/10
The senate is adjourned – August 25, 2009
Houston, we have a problem – August 28, 2009
The time of Penelope – September 1, 2009
Good move, bad timing – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Break means homework time for Ranieri – September 7, 2009
A win that means more than three points – September 15, 2009
Ranieri chases team spirit – September 18, 2009
Champagne! – September 22, 2009
Children of Chaos – September 25, 2009
Catania is beginning to get on our nerves – September 29, 2009
Ranieri has yet to stabilise i Lupi – October 3, 2009
A solid win at a heavy price? – October 6, 2009
Rumours as IFFHS ranks the Giallorossi as best in Italy – October 9, 2009
The strange attractor of two inherently chaotic teams – October 16, 2009
The sound and the fury – October 20, 2009
The importance of being Francesco – October 23, 2009
A shot in the foot – October 27, 2009
Waiting for Godot (and the rest of our men) – October 30, 2009
Win as a team, die as individuals – November 3, 2009
Into the nest of snakes – November 6, 2009
A promise of spring – November 10, 2009
International week (Italy-Holland, Italy-Sweden)
Purgatory is not enough – November 20, 2009
The first leaves shiver – November 24, 2009
The ghost of a future derby – November 27, 2009
The front needs work but the back looks good – December 1, 2009
The only game in town – December 4, 2009
We need an alternative, fast – December 8, 2009
Black Wolves rising – December 11, 2009
The Imbecile – December 15, 2009
Pass the Parmesan, please – December 18, 2009
The defence does everything, where is the rest? – December 22, 2009
The man to give (us) a shove – December 29, 2009
It’s quiet…too quiet – January 5, 2010
No offence intended – January 8, 2010
All I know is a door into the dark – January 12, 2010
The halfway buoy – January 15, 2010
Standing ovation. Seriously – January 19, 2010
A song of ice and fire – January 22, 2010
Marching upon the ashes of the fallen – January 26, 2010
The unfortunate tale of Stefano Okaka – February 2, 2010