Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Well, that’s it, the paparazzi can abandon the beaches now. Christian Vieri is finally back in pre-season training so no more pics of the cankerous frontman cavorting in the sea with his svelte, young girlfriend.In fact, big Bobo’s new club Atalanta and AS Roma were the final two Serie A sides to drag their bronzed bodies back to training, leaving the rest of Italy’s hard-working souls to reclaim the sun loungers.The Giallorossi had been away from their Trigoria training ground for three days shy of two months, putting them on-par with teachers in terms of summer hols.Francesco Totti, of course, had already been on the treadmill a good 10 days before his team-mates and the captain seems to be wondering if all the toil to overcome his ligament injury is worth it.When it comes to new signings, well, you can see his point. The biggest name to arrive in the Capital so far is, erm, John Arne Riise.
Riise: Hardly the signing of the summer
That’s not going to leave Inter, Juventus, Fiorentina or even AC Milan, who are full of their old swagger since landing Ronaldinho, quaking in their shiny new boots.Champions Inter even nabbed Roma’s winger Amantino Mancini and although Totti’s heir apparent Daniele De Rossi has signed a new deal, his midfield partner Alberto Aquilani has not committed his future to the club.In fact, rumours persist that either Juve or Inter will have the highly-rated youngster in their ranks either this season or next and the local born player was taking no chances with any irate fans by turning up just before the midnight curfew.However, he did come out with a statement which will send a chill through Roman hearts.“Fans act like fans and they expect players to act like fans but that’s not the case,” he said. “We are professionals and I can only say it makes me happy that other clubs want me.”Basically, Inter or Juve, please come and get me and a side shorn of Aquilani would no doubt suffer and the pessimistic Totti has already been down the bookies with an each-way bet on a fourth place finish.
Wheras over at the San Siro...
Fear not, help is at hand in the amble frame of Julio Baptista.The Real Madrid striker is Luciano Spalletti’s number one target to brighten the mood although Florent Malouda of Chelsea would do nicely down the left flank vacated by Mancini.Both players are reportedly keen on a switch to the Eternal City but the problem facing Roma is one of money or the distinct lack of it. Although the Sensi family have restructured their 400 million euro debt with the UniCredit Bank, it’s one heck of an overdraft to sustain.So any arrivals will have to be of the loan kind – and after a similar move to Arsenal was less than satisfying, ‘The Beast’ is not too keen on repeating the experience.However, the Romans are willing to bide their time, right down to the final days of the transfer window so it may be a long wait before we see a smile back on Signor Totti’s face.
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