With the official arrival of striker Edin Dzeko at Roma, Marco Credentino discusses whether the Giallorossi have finally found the striker they have been looking for.
Is the time finally here? Have Roma found the rightful heir to the man (or the beast) that fired them to their last Scudetto triumph, Gabriel Batistuta. Many have come, ranging from academy stars in Stefano Okaka and Daniele Corvia; to budding Serie A hot-shots such as Mirko Vucinic and Francesco Tavano, to even temperamental, but talented nomads in Mido and Pablo Osvaldo, but none have truly taken the crown.
More recently, Mattia Destro and Seydou Doumbia have tested their luck and ultimately failed, but that may soon be about to change with the newest entry into the catalogue of Roman front-men.
Enter Edin Dzeko.
The Bosnian international captain joins the capital club from English Premier League giants Manchester City on an initial loan for a fee of €4 million, with the Giallorossi obliged to pay €11 million to keep him permanently if ‘certain conditions are met.’ Some sceptics may point to the fact that the outlay is quite expensive for a 29-year-old who just came off an awful season at the Etihad Stadium, and looks disinterested most of the time when the ball isn’t in the vicinity of the penalty area.
More optimistic fans will respond by saying that the transaction is a snip, considering the guarantee of goals the player brings. Let’s look at his career in more detail: 85 goals in 142 games for Bundesliga giants Wolfsburg, 71 goals in 185 matches (many as a substitute) for City, and 42 international strikes in 72 caps for his country.
More importantly, he’s scored goals consistently, netting at least 15 goals in each of his last six seasons, disregarding the most recent one. His goals-to-minutes ratio is up there with the best in the world over the past few seasons and will solve a major headache for boss Rudi Garcia.
Roma have needed a dependable, prolific number nine for over a decade. Osvaldo was just that, if you exclude the first part of the description. His ability to unpredictably combust at any moment has plagued him during his entire career and thus cannot be trusted at a big club.
Fabio Borini showed glimpses during his one season with the Giallorossi, but judging by his performances since moving to Liverpool, he’s firmly in the ‘one-season wonder’ category, in contrast to the ‘reliable number nine’ which Roma have so desperately craved.
Out of all the strikers that have tried to take Batistuta’s mantle, it is Dzeko that resembles the former Argentinian beast in stature and playing style. Powerful in the air, able to finish expertly with both feet, and proficiently capable of playing in a front-two or as a lone striker, the Bosnian is quite similar to ‘Batigol’, and this bodes well for the Giallorossi fans, who have eagerly been anticipating his arrival.
This may also come as a ‘make-or-break’ signing for Roma director Walter Sabatini. The highly-regarded administrator has come under fire recently due to a number of underwhelming signings such as Doumbia, Juan Iturbe, Davide Astori, and even dallying dangerously when it came to concluding the signing of midfield general Radja Nainggolan from Cagliari this summer.
Sabatini has planned for the Dzeko signing by drafting in one of the most proficient and accurate crossers in the league in Genoa ace Iago Falque. The Spaniard has shown off his precise left-foot in many pre-season games already, and Garcia will be hoping that he can quickly establish an understanding with Dzeko that will lead to many goals for Roma.
Dzeko’s signing also leads to the conundrum surrounding the legendary Francesco Totti. Where does Dzeko’s signing leave the captain, as Garcia hardly ever deviates from playing one up-top? Will Garcia stray from his principles and partner the two together, or will he have to leave Totti on the bench, in a move that will surely make the iconic number ten unhappy. Dzeko’s signing throws up a lot of questions, but one thing he should guarantee is goals, and plenty of them.