It’s all change at Roma.
The Serie A side have lost legendary captain Francesco Totti, who will no longer be playing for the team, while Eusebio Di Francesco has been named the new Roma manager.
Despite finishing second last season, some important players have already completed big moves away, but who is being looked at to replace them? Will Roma slide down the league or will they be rejuvenated under new management?
Here are three ways Roma could line up next season.
As things stand… (4-3-3)
Mohamed Salah’s move to Liverpool is confirmed, but the Egyptian will not be the only Roma player to leave this summer.
Ultimately the area of concern (and uncertainty) this summer is how their defence will look by the end of the window. Szczesny has already completed his move to Juventus.
Kostas Manolas’ move to Zenit fell through, while Anthony Rudiger joined Premier League champions Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Mario Rui has joined Napoli. This could be more of a blow than it seems given Emerson Palmieri suffered an ACL injury on the final day of the Serie A campaign so will miss the opening stages of next season.
In terms of incomings, Hector Moreno, the 29-year-old left-sided Mexico centre-back, was made Monchi’s first signing upon joining from PSV. He would be an option filling in at left-back for Emerson, as is Juan Jesus, whom Roma are obliged to sign from Inter for around £8m in total after he spent last season on loan there.
Bruno Peres was signed permanently from Torino, though Corriere della Sera say he is unhappy with his status at the club. Though traditionally a right-back, he created more chances than any Roma defender last season in Serie A (33) and has a physicality compatible with incoming manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s playing style.
Meanwhile, Feyenoord right-back Rick Karsdorp has arrived for a medical on earlier this summer, giving Roma two strong options at right-back, which should result in Alessandro Florenzi being considered an option for further upfield when he returns from his ACL injury.
Alexander Kolarov also joined Roma recently on a free transfer from Manchester City and will be expected to slot straight into the side on the left-hand side of defence.
If all goes to plan (4-3-3)
As Di Francesco feels his way into his first season, the aforementioned Emerson returns from injury – or if the more ambitious deals linked to Roma come off – we may see a different starting XI emerge.
Despite transfer talk among the French media, there has been little movement on the Jean-Michael Seri to Roma rumours.
However, Roma confirmed they will activate their buy-back clause on Lorenzo Pellegrini. The 21-year-old midfielder shone under Roma’s new manager last season at Sassuolo, scoring six goals and assisting as many from central midfield.
Pellegrini, who would expect to be rotated should he complete his Roma return, does not hide his admiration for Giallorossi hero Daniele de Rossi, who, at 33, is considering retiring once his new two-year contract extension expires.
Should all go to plan and he adapts at a bigger club such as Roma, Pellegrini’s game time could come at De Rossi’s expense if Kevin Strootman moves deeper to operate as the holding midfielder.
In attack, Riyad Mahrez and Lucas Vazquez are the two players, according to Sky Italia, who could be filling the hole left by Salah’s exit to Liverpool
Which ever of the pair Roma manage to bring in could play off star striker Edin Dzeko’s right – in essence replacing Salah – while Diego Perotti occupies the left.
As previously mentioned, Szczesny will need replacing. Valencia’s Diego Alves, known as a specialist in saving penalties, is according to Marca a target, although his representatives have publicly denied a deal has been agreed.
So, were all the above to come off, can Roma challenge for Serie A next season?
It’s not implausible. The club came second in Serie A, will be in the Champions League next season and could push Juventus for the title.
They’re currently third favourites behind Juventus and Napoli at 9.00 according to bonusscommesse4u.it.
In Di Francesco Roma have secured themselves a bright, young manager who demands his side plays fluid and attractive football. He is not afraid to utilise different systems to get the best out of his players.
His Sassuolo team last season sometimes showed their versatility with a move to three at the back, and there’s no reason Roma couldn’t do the same under the 47-year-old.
Emerson and Alessandro Florenzi have the ability to operate at wing-back while Nainggolan and either Kevin Strootman or Daniele De Rossi, more defence-minded than Pellegrini, would make for a dominant midfield pairing.
There is also Fazio who could come in to make up the back three. The former Spurs and Villarreal defender restored some of his reputation last term and, even should Di Francesco stick to his favoured 4-3-3, will provide good competition for Moreno and Rudiger if he stays.
Finally, up front Stephan El Shaarawy could play as second striker to Dzeko. ‘Il Farone’ looks set to compete with Perotti next season; while the latter is more creative, El Shaarawy is more a threat on goal having recording 47 shots on goal to Perotti’s 32.