A year ago, the idea of Daniele De Rossi leaving Roma would have seemed ridiculous. Vice-captain of the side that pushed Inter right to the wire in the Scudetto race and one half of arguably the best central midfield partnership in Serie A, all the signs pointed to De Rossi eventually fulfilling his destiny and taking over the Roma captaincy when Francesco Totti finally hangs up his boots. A year on and speculation is mounting that the man known as Captain Future could, in fact, be on his way out of the club this summer.
For the last few summers various clubs around Europe have been credited with interest in De Rossi, from Real Madrid to Manchester United, all the big names have been mentioned. The difference is that this summer, the speculation has taken a different tone. De Rossi is coming to the end of his contract at Roma and negotiating a renewal is proving more difficult than anyone had imagined, leading to a number of breakdowns in the process. Chelsea, under new boss Andre Villas-Boas, are thought to be loitering with intent and the possibility of De Rossi starting the new season away from Roma seems to grow more plausible by the week.
A move away from the Stadio Olimpico would offer De Rossi an intriguing opportunity to start afresh after what has been a difficult season for the midfielder. He has struggled for form and often been unable to influence games as he has done in the past. His discipline has also suffered and he attracted a great deal of negative attention for an elbow on Dario Srna that went unpunished in the Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk. He was dropped from Italy squad twice as a punishment for ill discipline and, should he continue in the same vein, is fast become a liability for his club. A move to Chelsea would offer De Rossi a chance to test himself in a faster moving, more combative league, arguably one better suited to his skill set.
That is not to say that there is no future for him at Roma. Transfer guru Walter Sabatini has already expressed his opinion that De Rossi would be better off staying in the capital and there is every chance that he could recapture his best form with the club. With new Coach Luis Enrique likely to employ a possession-based game that is heavily reliant on a midfield confident and comfortable on the ball, De Rossi could have a big role to play in the side’s development next season.
It is common knowledge that De Rossi is a gifted midfielder, technically adept with a brilliant range of passing, the ability to score from ridiculous range and aggression in the tackle almost unmatched in Serie A. Should De Rossi elect to leave in the summer it would undoubtedly be a massive loss for Roma and replacing him would be Enrique’s first real test. However, his love for the club is beyond doubt and so it would be foolish to bet against De Rossi remaining in Roma and, eventually, fulfilling his destiny as captain.