Season Preview: Roma – Chasing the American dream

Last Season: AS Roma 2010-11 season review
The Squad: Having allowed Mirko Vucinic, Jeremy Menez, Philippe Mexes, Julio Sergio, Doni and John Arne Riise to leave the club this summer, an extensive rebuilding process was undertaken and is still in progress at Roma. So far, Loic Nego, Jose Angel and Gabriel Heinz have been brought in to reinforce the defence and Maarten Stekelenburg and the returning Gianluca Curci likely to battle it out for a starting berth in goal. Roma also look likely to sign another central defender before the transfer window closes.
In midfield there have been fewer signings but Andrea Bertolacci and Marco D’Alessandro have returned from successful loan spells to bolster an already well-stocked area of the squad. Despite some speculation regarding his future, Daniele De Rossi appears almost certain to stay with his hometown club and will be hoping to recapture his best form after something of a lacklustre campaign last season. Marco Borriello’s loan deal has been made permanent and Stefano Okaka has also returned to the club following time away on loan.
Arguably one of the summer’s most exciting signings come in the form of young attackers Bojan Krkic and Erik Lamela. Having seen his career stall at Barcelona, Bojan brings goals to the side along with vast potential, a trait shared by Lamela. The young Argentine demonstrated his prodigious talent in the under 20 World Cup scoring some crucial goals.
While there are likely to be more signings before the season begins, the rebuilding process under Luis Enrique appears to be well underway.
Coach: Luis Enrique – Brought in from Barcelona B ahead of other, more experienced options, the Spanish tactician and former international winger has been charged with making Roma a side capable of challenging for the Scudetto.
Having stated his intention to build the side around players like Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, Enrique has also suggested that Simone Perrotta will have a key role to play this season. This focus on senior players in the squad suggests that Enrique is more evolution rather than evolution and he will look to mould the squad slowly into his image rather than ringing the changes straight away.
In this vein, the Coach is likely to continue to fully utilise the strong youth system in place at Roma by introducing young players to the first team such as the exciting Gianluca Caprari and Federico Viviani.
His preference for an attacking variant of the 4-3-3 and a possession-based game suggests that De Rossi and Pizarro will be asked to keep the ball in midfield while Perrotta will provide an extra body in attack when Totti drops deep to pick up the ball. Perrotta was used successfully in a similar way under Luciano Spalletti and Enrique will hope the Italian can have a similar success in his system.
Player to look out for: Bojan Krkic – Despite being only 20, Bojan has enjoyed a great deal of success in his short career but arrives at Roma in need of a fresh start. Having failed to live up to his reputation at Barcelona, the forward will be hungry to prove himself and brings a mixture of clever movement and sharp finishing that seems tailor made for Serie A.
Prediction: After a challenging preseason, a Scudetto challenge may be a bridge too far for Roma but a return to the Champions League places is well within the grasp of a revamped squad.
Probable XI:
Stekelenburg
Cassetti – Burdisso – Juan – Jose Angel
Perrotta – Pizarro – De Rossi
Bojan – Totti – Lamela

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