Michael Bradley is moving up the Italian football ladder—one rung at a time.
According to Goal.com, Chievo has completed a deal that will send the gifted midfielder to Roma on a contract that runs through 2016.
Early reports have Roma paying Chievo a transfer fee of €3.75 million.
Last season, Roma missed out on a top-six finish, a spot in the Europa League and all the endorsement money that would have come with it by just two points. They averaged nearly 1.6 goals per match last season—fourth highest in the league—so what was the cause of the club's decline?
Apart from conceding 54 goals last season (seventh-worst in the league), Roma gives away interceptions often, with Miralen Pjanic as the team's most efficient passer at just 86 percent, according to WhoScored.com. Compare that with title-winning Juventus who has four players above that rate.
The hope with bringing on a versatile player like Bradley will be to bring on a player who can bypass the need for the midfield to string together five or six passes and surprise opponents with long balls from deep in his own territory. The American averaged 3.9 long balls and 42.3 passes per match last season. He has an eye for passes, loves to dump the ball off to teammates and if he's being given a few extra seconds by the opposition, he'll line it up and feed it deep as though it were a set-piece.
No matter how Roma manager Zdeněk Zeman plays him, one thing is certain—he'll be getting some significant minutes in the 2012-13 season. You don't just sign a young guy to a four-year deal with a transfer fee for €3.75 million to keep him on the bench.
So, when can Americans expect to see Bradley in Roma's yellow and red? Sooner rather than later. Roma has a club friendly against Liverpool scheduled for July 25 at Fenway Park in Boston. The newest member of the Giallorossi should see some time on the pitch in front of an American audience and for an American club president.
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