As rumours begin to circulate of a three-pronged attack on Rome from Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea to snare Daniele de Rossi, AS Roma has moved quickly to erect their defences. The Italian club have made clear their refusal to even negotiate the sale of their home-grown Italian star.
De Rossi, born in Rome and son of former Roma player Alberto de Rossi, began his career with the Giallorossi in the youth team before making his senior debut in October 2001 in the Champions League. He had to wait another year until his Serie A debut in January 2003. Currently the Italian has made 221 league appearances, scoring 27 goals. Along with Francesco Totti, De Rossi has come to symbolise the Roma team.
The club’s technical director Bruno Conti told an Italian website that “De Rossi is not for sale. In no eventual strategy in our market do we predict his possible sale”.
Much like Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, De Rossi is the local boy turned international star. As vice captain and fellow central midfielder, the Italian is the driving force of the Roma side, the connection between the fans and the team, recognising what it means to play for the club and transmitting the drive, passion and determination to the players around him. Tipped as a future captain of both club and country, Roma recognise his effect on the team, which is why any enquiries from England will be firmly beaten away.
If the interest from England is serious however than Roma may be in no position but to hear the offer on the table. As runners-up to Inter Milan once again, although taking the league to a final game decider, they have not been able to make that last, most difficult step since 2001. They have also found it difficult to progress in the knockout stages of the Champions League when facing the bigger teams. Some damaging defeats have highlighted the need for an increase in quality.
Selling one of the team’s best players seems absurd as a way to improve but a big transfer fee received from De Rossi’s sale to invest on reinforcements may prove beneficial in time. Another Roman, Alberto Aquilani, appeared settled in Rome little over a year ago until Liverpool offered, what could amount to, £17 million. Despite his local ties, Roma deemed it too attractive a deal to dismiss, admittedly also likely because of Aquilani’s persistent injury record. If Manchester City especially, put a firm, substantial bid on the table the stance of Bruno Conti and the Roma board may just have to change. It wouldn’t be the first time such instances have occurred in football.
Personally however, any transfer seems unlikely. After coming so close in the league last season, Roma and De Rossi will be eager to make that final push to finish as champions next season. De Rossi himself has always appeared very settled at Roma, in his home city and country. As of yet he has not given any indication that he is considering his future. The troubles experienced by his former team-mate Aquilani in England, may just make him think twice about making the same move. Italians do not have a history of settling in English football particularly well. It has always proved very difficult for a player with such strong connections to their home team to leave the club, especially when already playing for one of the bigger names in Europe.
With Roma unwilling sellers and De Rossi expressing no desire to leave then any transfer will prove very difficult. Roma will be hoping that De Rossi has a successful World Cup, increasing his market value still further, putting him well out of the reach of other clubs. With the current transfer fee being mentioned at £40 million, it’s a struggle to see clubs even willing to go close to matching that, good World Cup or not. Manchester United and Chelsea especially seem well enough covered in the midfield department to not have to pursue such a transfer.
Whilst speculation is sure to continue throughout the World Cup, it is highly likely Roma’s defences will still be in tact come August, when De Rossi will once again be wearing the yellow and red of the eternal city.
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