This Friday afternoon, Walter Sabatini made his future official: “I’ve asked Pallotta to rescind my contract in June.” After speculation of Walter’s departure for about a year now, the society and fans now have some closure and transparency as to what will be happening inside the club this summer.
Opinions on Walter truly divided the fans; some loved him and his cigarette puffing from atop the Stadio Olimpico, whereas others criticized his “buy, flip, buy two more” policy. Opinions may be kept on him, but in the following paragraphs, his top three purchases are analyzed.
3. Kevin Strootman
The Dutch dynamo was the stand-out and strongest central midfielder during his first season with Roma, in 2013-14. In 2005 minutes played that season, Strootman scored five goals and created six assists.On the defensive side of things, his 3.3 tackles per match were a perfect compliment to exemplify just how balanced of a player that Kevin really was/is.After being out for almost two full years, Kevin is ready to come back after being operated on by a surgeon that Totti recommended. Have full faith, Kevin will come back stronger than ever. It’s most likely that he will see few minutes this season in order to let him regain full health for next season, so look for him to become a prominent player in giallorosso once again in 2016/17. #DajeKevin
2.Marcos Aoás Corrêa, commonly known as Marquinhos
It was the sale of our beloved Marcos that financed Mehdi Benatia and the above-mentioned Kevin Strootman, but have no doubt, Romanisti all around the world miss their young Brazilian. The boy who sat with the Curva Sud and kept hope alive during some of the darker times in Roma’s history, Marcos was a Serie A sensation at just 18-years-old. With his last-gasp tackling, match winning saves, speedy entrance out of the back, and sharp passing abilities, Marcos was one of Roma’s top centerbacks of the past 20 years. Recommended by fellow countryman Leandro Castan, Marcos was bought for around five million euros and sold for more than 30 million. Though, the 600% investment profit did little to warm Roman hearts, and he remains a missed man to this day. He says he still follows Roma, and would love to return one day. These comments just hurt us Roma fans on the inside, as it’s rumored that he will be moving to Barcelona or Madrid this summer. Cry for me Argentina!
1. Miralem Pjanić
Sabatini’s master-coup must be the “Little Prince.” I can remember it like it was yesterday; Roma failed to sign Ricardo Montolivo after the player refused to join the club (lol), and there was nervousness around Rome as the “Americans” had failed to land a proper, and needed center midfielder. Then, on the last transfer day, 31 August 2011, Serie A’s official website reported it before anyone else did: “Miralem Pjanić, transfer to A.S. Roma from Olympique Lyon.” “Yes! He did it!” I thought. Walter landed one of the hottest midfield prospects for just 11 million euros. The Little Prince went onto score 12 goals and make 12 assists in the next three seasons, struggling to find consistency, but showing moments of master class. Last year’s five goals and ten assists were a great feat, until this season: Miralem now has nine goals and ten assists in just mid-March. With the highest free-kick success rate in all of Europe and ability to dictate match tempo, he has solidified himself as one of the top possession-based midfielders in all of football. Roma must hold on to him with dear life this summer, even if that means sacrificing other commodities, like those proving themselves out on loan. Miralem Pjanić stands as Walter Sabatini’s top purchase during his tenure for the giallorissi.
Paint me a picture, Giotto!