Monday, January 6, 2014

Oi vey. Ish. Esque.

I have been informed that Roma are getting traction in a move for Belgium midfielder Radja Nainggolan of Cagliari. Though not quite the same type of player, his arrival could theoretically cut into already concerning Michael Bradley minutes, in turn theoretically causing the US star to seek a move - which would kick off a whole other scene.

The funny thing is not that Roma really do not want to part with Bradley. Like, really and truly do not. No, the funny thing is Roma just lost a game and ground to first place Juventus when sitting Bradley looked like a big mistake.

Is he a surefire regular starter on that team? No. But against the best opponents, he is quote demonstrably necessary in midfield. There is a elemental reason he has never lost to Juve in three prior clashes, including a pair of upset wins with lowly Chievo, and it was clearly missing on Sunday. Confusing matters even more, Daniele De Rossi was shown red in the match, immediately opening more PT for Bradley.

Dizzy yet? Welcome to January.




- Greg Seltzer

17 comments:

Craig D said...

Is there any truth to the rumor that Bradley was offered to Hellas Verona as make weight for Iturbe and that Bradley himself rejected the move?

Greg Seltzer said...

No.

RobUsry said...

He has to go if this goes through. I know I'm a naive fan would is only thinking of Bradley's world cup form in this scenario, but his playing time cannot take another hit.

I've never met Michael, but something tells me his pride would soon get out of the way and his head would tell him that he needs to find another club.

Tom said...

Aren't their problems with their forwards?

ewocky said...

"demonstrably necessary" against the best teams but not a surefire starter is an interesting position to be in.

Does that mean that he is seen as an important extra defensive piece against teams Rome is on their heels against, but doesn't offer enough as an attacker to want to start him consistently against weaker teams? Or something else?

WonderKin said...

2 fairly obvious points to slow conclusions on how this may be directly related to Michael Bradley.

1) Big teams have big time players rotating. Chelsea, Man U, Bayern, Barca. While Roma is not there yet, the Redsox are and ownership understands it's going to take depth to get there.

2) Daniele De Rossi may be a national hero, but he is 30 and is the highest paid player in Serie A... is he worth that? Is he the best player in Serie A? Is he better than Strootman? Is he better than Bradley?

Stephen Meli said...

So what was the purpose of the "meeting" the other day? Was the club informing Bradley that they were pursuing Nainggolan or assuring Bradley he is still in their plan despite the transfer?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ ewocky: Yeah, it is a little strange to be in that situation. And yes, I was thinking of the first thing you mentioned. In my view, they clearly needed him the other day, but he is not so essential as to be an ink starter every game when they have three other fine midfielders.

@ WonderKin: I think we all know the answers to your questions.

@ Stephen: As I understand it, Bradley/his agent asked for it to get the PT assurance.

Jon said...

So did Mikey get assurance he'd get enough playing time, only to not even be subbed on a few days later, then have Roma on the cusp of bringing in a 15M mid he'd likely be competing directly against for playing time?

If Mikey got an assurance of playing time, I'd say it was a bold faced lie.

Greg Seltzer said...

I would not say they would be in direct competition, but yeah it would make a crowd looking at the whole MF stable. I do not know what was said in the meeting, but it was definitely not "Too bad, so sad, get out" or some such thing. As for the Juve game, I would not say he was the first sub you would think of down two goals and then two men (as if it even mattered at that point).

In the overview, though, Bradley is still likely set for a fair amount of playing time looking forward. De Rossi is now suspended and any clubs depth is usually well-tested by the end.

9a7b308e-77ba-11e3-9a6b-000f20980440 said...

The issue with Bradley is that DDR and Bradley while both technically DM's are not remotely the same player or tasked with the same roles when they are in the lineup.

DDR is a deep lying playmaker more of the Paulinho type where he is free to roam and do as he pleases. This would seem to make him more of a B2B CM, but let's be honest DDR isn't a B2B midfielder and hasn't been one for years.

Nevermind that despite DDR's talents he has been the most inconsistent performer for Roma over the last 2 seasons.

Bradley is a perfect example of a player where statistics lie. Statistically, DDR is having an amazing year, but I have watched every game over the last 3 years, and what Bradley does defensively for Roma will never show up on the stats sheet. His defensive positioning is immense. I cannot count the number of times he has created a turnover from positioning alone, which will never be measured on a stat sheet. Even when Bradley squares up a player he is light years better defensively than DDR.

I can guarantee Bradley wouldn't of been turned by Tevez on the first Juventus goal this past Sunday.

Tom said...

Greg, would you say that MB is sort of the backup for both De Rossi and Strootman? I haven't checked the team sheets, but that would make sense since nearly all the other MFs there are more attacking than either DM or B2B.

Jeff B. said...

Greg, I know you said that Bradley was absolutely, positively not going to leave Roma (well, actually you said, "No. Michael Bradley is not moving in January...I cannot be more clear on all of this. Pass it on. Grazie."), but things change. Bradley is now fifth choice central midfielder for Roma after Pjanic/Strootman/De Rossi/Nainggolan, which isn't a good look.

So where are some places he might move this month?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Tom: Yes, that is about how it works. Frankly, I think De Rossi has been well below ink starter level for the entire time Bradley has been aboard. But these things are sometimes very political and Roma fans are certainly not the ones to tick off.

@ Jeff B: You are absolutely right, things can change fast. In retrospect, that sentence you quoted was a poor choice of words easily fixed by adding "as of now" in there somewhere. I am about to make an update post on all this, because things did suddenly change recently.

As for who might grab Bradley now, I do not know. As of mere moments ago, there are no offers for him and Roma are making no effort to shop him around.

Timmy said...

Could Pjanic be the one on the move?

Greg Seltzer said...

He has some heat around him, but I am told it is very unlikely he could leave. Then again, that was also the status of Bradley mere days ago...

Greg Seltzer said...

New post on the topic is up.