AS Roma’s sporting director Walter Sabatini held a press conference in which he expressed his point of view about Roma’s ambitions for the current year. Sabatini highlighted the main moments of the recent transfer market window unveiling a few key situations. Below is his most important thoughts:
About Kevin Strootman’s recovery…
“He will be a great acquisition for us. When we lost him there was a bit of embarrassment. Our desire is to keep him with us. He is our point of strength.”
Your point of view about the actual team…
“I’m never happy and satisfied. I always live in a dimension of permanent restlessness. Certainly I’m sure that our team is really competitive.”
“We really like Rabiot’s skills. He is an extraordinary player. This is a player that we follow and we are negotiating also because we don’t want to buy him exploiting the end of his contract. We don’t want to make this kind of acquisition because we believe that it could not be strategic for us. You guys should remember what we did with Sanabria. We found an agreement with Barcelona and we pursued the player. We are a great club and we want to proceed in a negotiation with PSG. However, the actual situation is really difficult because you all know that Rabiot’s contract is expiring.”
What do you think about Benatia?
“Our president already said everything about that situation. Last year we pursued him also because he refused a better contract from another Italian team. He evaluated the pros and cons to come here in Rome and he decided to join our team. At the end of this season he stated to have received a few important requests, however, he also told us about his intention to remain with us. We answered that AS Roma was not happy to satisfy his economic requests but we also told him that we were happy to re-discuss his contract. When I stated that Benatia’s price-tag was 61 million euro I was referring to the player that we admired last year, he was a rock. However, this year we discovered a player without power and will so a player without the necessary determination.”
Is AS Roma thinking to sell Strootman?
“Of course we don’t want to sell Strootman but the transfer market is unpredictable. He will receive some offers, we will defend him but now I cannot say what is going to happen. He is a determinant player for us and we want to keep him with us.”
“Each of us lives three lives, the public, the private and the secret one, let him do a few little things as he wants. Last year he played 28 games of very high level. He often played by taking painkillers, and sometimes in dire conditions, but he did it for the sake of AS Roma.”
About this transfer market window…
“As I said I’m always a bit disappointed. However, Garcia is happy because we setup a competitive team. Now the team must demonstrated their power, will and confidence to be a great team. The match against Fiorentina was really positive because for 60 mins the team played like they did last year.”
Why did you sell Dodo?
“Dodo was sold because I had the conviction that the player would not have been able to grow in this environment that has always beaten him. You are not responsible for Dodo’s sale, but I had to also take into account this aspect.”
“I confirm my opinion. The team has all the requirements to challenge for the title, but I do not neglect that also the other clubs strengthen themselves making wise choices.”
Your opinion about Iturbe…
“Iturbe is a very strong player. He doesn’t even know how strong he is. He experienced a bit of difficulties because he is trying to understand his teammates leaving aside his instinct.”
“I had a few meetings in which I spoke about the player but I never had the intention to sell him. Sometimes these meetings are useful to know what the market thinks about our players. I firmly believe that Destro is a great striker. Sometimes it is also nice to refuse some big offers for our players…this is part of my vanity!”
The gap between Juventus and Roma…
“I spoke with Garcia about that and we agree that Juventus didn’t sell any players and pursued a few new ones. This means that they are not weaker than the previous season. However, we also believe that there is not a 17 point gap between Juventus and Roma. In the last period of the previous season we gave up a bit.”
What’s Strootman’s price-tag?
“Strootman is not worth a lot because he is not on sale. Kevin will be our acquisition of January. The price is made by rumors. However, at this stage Strootman is our player and we are not going to sell him.”
Roma and the Champions League…
“We are going to face the strongest team of our group. They constantly win the title in Russia. Football changes behaviors, but today they are the strongest team. We would like to win, but it will be very difficult, we want to measure ourselves against these teams.”
After one good year the players ask to re-descuss their contract. What does the club think about that?
“We live these situations in total anxiety. Pjanic? It was a challenging negotiation, we wanted to make a very demanding renegotiation of the contract that may have generated some questions. We could lose him for 0. We have had to accept a law of the market, just remember that Roma is publicly traded. Then everything can be fixed, we work to find a balance. The players are very smart guys, an extraordinary group of work. Each transfer market window involves an emotional balance that is almost never positive. We often are in a situation of suffering.”