Mix of youth and experience key for Roma


It has been a trying start to the new campaign for AS Roma. Far from a disaster but not ideal either. The draw with Genoa showed glimpses of the attacking prowess Paulo Fonseca can call upon but it also highlighted the defensive frailties that are all too apparent. Drawing with Lazio was a good result considering how their rivals dominated, and the wins over Sassuolo and Istanbul Basaksehir were convincing displays.

The summer business was always going to be highly scrutinised as it is at any massive club that harbours title ambitions but, in this department at least, there was a lot to like from the Giallorossi. The mix of experience and youth that club sporting director Gianluca Petrachi was able to sign has given the manager some nice options even if they are unlikely to get close to competing with Inter Milan or Juventus. In terms of budgets that probably makes sense given that Roma are spending around €125m on wages this season compared to the €294m at Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo earning €31m a season by himself, and €139m at Inter.

The one thing that Roma need is their young players to take another step forward this season while being supported by the experience of Edin Dzeko among others and newcomers Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Getting the best out of the youth
There will be plenty of chances for the likes of Cengiz Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, Amadou Diawara and Justin Kluivert to play this season for the Giallorossi and they all could have an increased influence on the success of the side. Kluivert is probably the most inconsistent of the four and the head coach understands that he is a young player who still needs to grow and learn.

When he joined the Giallorossi, Paulo Fonseca was clear about his star youngsters, saying: “[Justin] Kluivert is also young and has yet to understand a lot of things, but he is still growing.

“Just like [Nicolo] Zaniolo, who is destined to become one of the best Italian players. He too must grow and work hard, especially in terms of tactics, but I am sure he can be an important player for us now.”

Experienced Spine

With their massive budget, Juventus are the clear favourites to win Serie A this season with betting markets having them at 4/9 for the Scudetto. If, however, you were to bet on Italian Serie A, Roma are 50/1 for the title.

This may not be a bad shout given the quality they now have in the spine of the team. Dzeko staying was extremely important. It kept a reliable goal scorer at the Olympico while also starving Inter of another quality striker. Mkhitaryan’s arrival is also a big coup given his performance on the international stage and experience at the top level of European football.
Arguably, the most important addition comes at the back with both Smalling, on loan from Manchester United, and Leonardo Spinazzola from Inter. They should help sure up a defence that was far from convincing on the opening day and gives the team a far more solid look.

No one is expecting Roma to win the league but at least 2019-20 should be an exciting season for all who follow the Giallorossi.

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