May. 22, 2017
A.S. Roma: New Sporting Director's Arrival, Financial Dilemmas, & Youth Development Conundrum
If there is one thing Romanisti are deeply proud of, it would be the success of their home grown Roman talents who have pledged their loyalty to the Giallorossi throughout their careers. The legend and quite frankly the King of Rome, Francesco Totti, is held with the highest regard amongst the fan base and will go down as the greatest player to ever don the red and yellow. Right behind Totti, would be il capitano futuro ("future captain") Daniele De Rossi. De Rossi is another youth product that has spent his entire career with his hometown club. Unfortunately, ever since Roma was sold to American businessman, James Palotta, the club has established an unpopular trend of selling their top talents from their loaded youth academy for paltry fees to lower level clubs. Players like Lorenzo Pellegrini, Alessio Romagnoli, Andrea Bertolacci, Matteo Politano and a number of others have gone on to flourish with their new clubs leaving Roma looking foolish and impatient. With prolific youth prodigy and dominant goal scorer, Marco Tumminello, recently being given a 5 year extension into the 2022 season, the hope is that Roma will begin to prioritize their youth development system and help nurture their young gems and eventually use them in their senior squad. Newly hired Sporting director, Monchi, who spent a chunk of time with Sevilla executing numerous ground breaking transfers and establishing himself as one of the best directors in the world has stated he has every intention to re acquire highly rated Sassuolo midfielder, Lorenzo Pellegrini for a very modest fee of 8-10 million Euros. Roma had initially sold Pellegrini for a fee of 1.25 million euros back in 2015. However, the transfer included a buy back clause in the range of 10 million euros. With Tumminello being re upped and Pellegrini's purchase close to being imminent, it is appearing as though Monchi and co. are committed to building a competitive future squad as opposed to attempting the rarely successful "quick fix" model while still being competitive. Other high end talents developing in the youth squad are players like centre back Riccardo Marchizza and striker Eduardo Soleri amongst a slew of other talents. Roma has boasted the best youth academy in Italy for a number of years now and hopefully will be able to commit to them in the future. Unfortunately for Roma, the team has had trouble staying within the FFP (Financial Fair Play regulations) which requires clubs to not spend more than they make each season in order to avoid financial problems. This dilemma has caused Roma to sell a bulk of their players in order to meet the requirement. Examples of players Roma were forced to sell would be high end talents like, Erik Lamela, Miralem Pjanic, Marquinhos, Alessio Romagnoli, etc. The hope is that with Roma's new "Stadio Della Roma" finally getting approval to be built by the city council, they will be able to generate a major boost in profit to be able to avoid financial turmoil. Another major issue outlined by Roma's executive director, Mauro Baldissoni, is the fact that the Serie A has taken little to no initiative in improving conditions for the development of youth players. According to Balidssoni, Roma has suggested that the Serie A implement a developmental sector for young talents to stay with their clubs while getting much needed experience before making the jump to the senior squads. In addition, the new sector would allow the youngsters to enter professional tournaments and allow them to continue the developmental process. However, the Italian federation has not taken any active steps in aiding this effort which subsequently causes clubs to lose control of their youth players' development and forces clubs to sell the players to lower level clubs in order to get playing time. It is yet to be seen what Monchi has in store for Roma, as their continues to be uncertainty as to whether he will try to sell Pellegrini for a larger sum after his re-acquisition. My hope along with many other passionate, diehard fans, is that the commitment to building a championship calibre team through their youth academies and their desire to work with home grown talents, like Tumminello and Pellergini, begins to become a priority for the capital club.