While Chelsea were busy scoring lots of goals against Brighton on Saturday afternoon, the rumor mill continued to churn in the background. Chelsea’s supposed interest in AS Roma duo Emerson Palmieri and Edin Dzeko isn’t abating any time soon. Quite the opposite in fact.
Chelsea apparently remain more than ready to shell out a combined €55m for the left back and striker, and the Italian media has worked itself into a tizzy. Multiple are reports are expecting both deals to conclude early next week (“Monday or Tuesday”) with negotiations entering the home stretch as we speak. Of the €55m, a record* €30m (£26.5m) would be the fee for Dzeko, while Emerson commands the other €20m and €5m in bonuses.
That said, Roma sporting director Monchi (of Sevilla fame) has called an unscheduled press conference to read out a statement, which insisted that Roma aren’t a selling club, but stopped short of naming names as part of a guarantee that they would stay.
“We found ourselves forced to create some clarity here. For too many days, Roma have been described in the papers as a club being dismantled. I even read we are selling players without their knowledge.
“It is a description that is very far away from the reality of the situation. We cannot be blamed for having many strong players in the squad who are of interest to many top clubs.
“If concrete offers arrive, it will be my duty as director of sport to evaluate them, just as my proposals are evaluated when I contact other directors of sport. We are not sleeping. I have made three times as many calls as I received.
“That is what I did at Sevilla, and I got some very good results. I want to be clear once and for all. Roma are not going around the world looking for offers. Above all, our intention is not to weaken the squad.
“In fact, I tell the fans, our objective is always the same: to strengthen the squad.”
-Monchi; source: Football Italia
Monchi could of course just be doing some PR or damage control, in case the fans are looking at these two impending sales as signs of a lack of ambition, or some other nonsense concept we often hear leveled at Chelsea, too.
Or he could be telling the truth as some sort of blanket statement.
In fact, the mood around Roma seems relaxed enough that assistant (to the) sporting director, Roma legend Francesco Totti, was able to even crack a joke about it as they were boarding the train to Milan ahead of their match against Internazionale tomorrow.
As Dzeko was about to get on board, Totti was caught on camera joking: “This train doesn’t go to London, does it?”
Dzeko smiled and replied: “Not yet.”
-source: Football Italia
Make of that what you will.
* While Chelsea appear to be getting a good deal on Emerson, the €30m mooted for Dzeko would be a transfer record for a player of his age. Regardless of whether we look at him as a 31-year-old, which he is right now, or a 32-year-old, which he will become in March, it would be a record.
The current highest fee ever paid for a 31-year-old player is £23m, involving one of the greatest of all time, Gabriel Batistuta, incidentally to Roma (from Fiorentina). Granted, this was in 2000, so that fee would be quite a bit higher in today’s money. The highest ever fee paid for a 32-year-old is the £12m Spurs paid for Fernando Llorente just six months ago.
Are Chelsea really about to break not only our own anti-30+ transfer policies, but set a new transfer record? I remain rather skeptical, to say the least...