Daniele De Rossi could turn most clubs into champions, though he is yet to do it in the Eternal City. However, the idea that the Italian could turn Chelsea into title winners has to be preceded by questioning as to whether he would leave Roma this summer, or indeed any summer.
On some level De Rossi surely owes it to himself to cap off a career as one of the game’s best midfield offerings of the modern era with a league title. There is sure to be disappointment on his part that he came into the Roma team shortly after they won their last league title in 2001, at the time still only being a teenager a few seasons off becoming a regular.
But then you don’t just walk away from a club like Roma, especially if you’re one of either De Rossi or Francesco Totti. Though that isn’t to say the midfielder’s time in the Italian capital has been a joyride from a local fan made club hero.
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The pressure to perform at Roma is overwhelming, surpassed only by perhaps Real Madrid and Barcelona. The club’s players are under the microscope in a way that few of their contemporaries can understand, forcing huge swings in De Rossi’s performances in domestic competition. The fact that De Rossi is often excellent and consistent for the Italian national team should say a lot.
Under Luis Enrique, De Rossi was outstanding, performing in a similar role to that of Sergio Busquets at Barcelona, bringing the ball out from the back in a fashion that is so regularly associated with the Spanish. That’s his offering to Chelsea if the deal does come off. The slick, technically astute forwards need to be complemented with a style stretching back to front in the Chelsea XI. John Obi Mikel doesn’t quite do that, while the addition of De Rossi would allow David Luiz to continue on at centre-back. There’s far more to the Italian than just a rugged, powerhouse of a defensive midfielder.
Even last summer when it appeared Manchester City would win the race for his signature, De Rossi stayed true to Roma and expressed his desire to remain at the club and perhaps retire there. Today, the situation isn’t too different. There are mountains of cash flying into Serie A this summer, and with new manager Rudi Garcia at the helm, the club have already made a promising splash in the transfer market. If De Rossi leaves – and he has noted this – it would be because the club had received an offer too good to turn down. However, at the moment that is definitely not an area of need for Roma.
But that’s not the case. Like we saw with Robin van Persie last summer, De Rossi is in his prime; that “last big contract” is likely to be on the table and, importantly, a genuine opportunity for silverware. Roma can’t offer that near guarantee in the way Chelsea can, and the “project” is very much still in the fine-tuning phase, now with a fourth manager on board in two years. But to go along with his abilities as one of the leading footballers in the world, De Rossi would take hold of the Chelsea midfield and power it forward to Premier League glory. He’s more than good enough, and you’ve got to believe he wants a league title to go along with the World Cup.
Yet as mentioned, and unlike van Persie, it’s much more difficult for De Rossi to tear himself away from Roma. Even for all the money that clubs like Chelsea and City can offer, the struggle and the seemingly endless wait would be worthwhile if he succeeds in leading Roma to the Serie A title. It would be his title and because of him that the club got there. He’s not going to find a similar feeling elsewhere.
Would De Rossi turn Mourinho’s Chelsea into champions?
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