How much time can Enrique buy?

Feeling the heat already?

Dreams do come true and so was the belief of the Giallorossi fans when Thomas Di Benedetto got his hands on AS Roma. It was time for i Lupi to flex financial muscles and compete with heavyweights in Italy and Europe for world class players.

Have they fans woken up to reality? Quite a number should have. The new American owners decided to invest in talented youngsters with the aim of building for the future. The same can be said with the appointment of a rookie coach in Luis Enrique as the tactician who is expected to bring Barcelona’s brand of football to the Olimpico.

The idea and early signs look promising but thats about where it ends.
The money spent during the summer and the look of the team on paper might make one to believe in fresh start, however, the defense still looks unconvincing. Maarten Stekenlenburg is a good buy but Jose Angel appears to be more of a liability – his performance during their last match against Milan was miserable. Juan isn’t getting any younger and the acquisition of Gabriel Heinze as a replacement for departed Philippe Mexes isn’t good enough.

A poor pre-season was followed up with their exit from the Europa league in the qualifying stages against a lowly rated Slovan Bratislava. Four defeats in nine Serie A league matches including a loss to eternal rival Lazio and defending champion Milan suggest Enrique’s Roma might not finish any better than the sixth position achieved last season byMontella.

..one of the many exciting prospects, but...

Another reason why this exciting project has not really bloomed might be the behind-the-scene issues in Rome. Mercurial midfield man Daniele De Rossi is yet to renew his contract with a few months left for it to run out, Marco Borriello has already fallen out with the coach, 35 yeras old club hero Francesco Totti still harbors the desire to play 90minutes every game as long as he’s fit so he isn’t happy to sit on the bench.

With the old guards bickering, the weight of expectation rests  on the shoulders of Simon Kjaer, Fernando Gago, Miralem Pjanic, Bojan Krkic and Erik Lamela- some of the young talents who moved to the Italian capital during the summer. Erik Lamela, a talented attacking midfielder is exciting to watch with the ball at his feet but needs time to settle and adapt to life in Europe. He is an epitome of the shortcomings frome the youngsters too.

After last weekend’s loss to Milan, Franco Baldini, the new general manager backed their coach and appealed to fans to support their team.
He said

 “We are a young team and it’s going to take patience. The important thing is to grow, which we can only do through good football. Luis Enrique has the full faith of the club and we’ll carry on along this path.”

“The Giallorossi crowd have realised the value of our project. We want to build a great squad and the future is ours. At the moment, though, we cannot afford to sign big champions.

“If we lose, then the fans are only right to protest, but I am happy with their attitude.”

Luis Enrique wants to build his own Barcelona in Rome, but he doesn’t have the same tools at his disposal. The Spaniard is being exposed against experienced Italian tacticians – he has promising youngsters to work it not established talents to make him competitive.

Roma may have a bright future, but the present doesn’t look so rosy, because their project needs time and plenty of it.

How much of that time will the Romans give him even when they know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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