AS Roma

Roma Must Take Advantage of Evolving Juventus

Roma forward Francesco Totti reacts after failing to score during an Italian Serie A soccer match between Roma and Juventus at Rome's Olympic stadium, Sunday, May 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press
Peter GalindoFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

Roma finished a surprising second in the 2013-14 season, despite breaking several records. Unfortunately for the Giallorossi, Juventus produced a historic campaign of their own, racking up over 100 points. Regardless, the capital side should be the team to watch for in 2014-15 instead of Juve.

Antonio Conte stepping down poses a threat for other Serie A teams.
Antonio Conte stepping down poses a threat for other Serie A teams.Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

Juventus have won the Scudetto in the last three seasons. However, they're going through some changes with Massimiliano Allegri replacing Antonio Conte as manager. The Bianconeri's biggest signing of the summer, Alvaro Morata, picked up a knee injury that will keep him out for 50 days, per CBC.

Udinese midfielder Roberto Pereyra completed a medical with the Italian champions, per Goal.com. The Old Lady is also in negotiations with Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri, according to Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio. It's clear that Juve isn't too bothered by the departure of their former manager.

Ashley Cole, left, is one of the many smart signings made by Roma so far this summer.
Ashley Cole, left, is one of the many smart signings made by Roma so far this summer.Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

On the other hand, Roma have also had a busy summer. Juan Iturbe was the big arrival from Hellas Verona, per the BBC, and sporting director Walter Sabatini didn't stop there. Former Chelsea fullback Ashley Cole was acquired, per The Guardian. Sabatini also added depth players in Seydou Keita and Salih Ucan. In addition, Kevin Strootman should be returning from a serious knee injury soon.

Interestingly, Roma spent just €40 million ($54 million) on transfers so far, per Transfermarkt. Manager Rudi Garcia will have plenty of options to balance both the domestic and European competitions this season.

Roma proved that they can start the season strong based on their performances in the first 10 games of the last campaign. Their tendency to drop points at crucial times along with some key injuries resulted in their second-place finish in 2013-14.

Roma's defeat to Juventus in January was the beginning of the end of their Scudetto hopes.
Roma's defeat to Juventus in January was the beginning of the end of their Scudetto hopes.Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

The Giallorossi drew four matches in a row following their 10 consecutive victories. They ended up dropping to second in the Serie A table. There were moments when the Romans nearly stormed back, but crucial defeats to Juventus and Napoli derailed the club.

Regardless, they showed terrific character in sticking with their philosophy throughout the season. When Roma lost 3-0 to Juve on January 5, fans and critics brought up past failures, like the 2009-10 campaign when La Maggica slipped up in the final weeks, allowing Inter to win the Scudetto.

Following that loss to Juventus, Roma dropped points just three times in the league until the beginning of May, per WhoScored.com. Garcia has given his players some belief in themselves. It's not their fault that Juve produced a historic season when the Romans did the same.

This is why it's now time for Roma to finally win that elusive fourth Scudetto. Allegri might have to cope without either Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba as Liverpool is reportedly interested in their services, per English newspaper the Daily Star.

Keeping Mehdi Benatia was crucial for Roma.
Keeping Mehdi Benatia was crucial for Roma.Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

The vultures are circling around Juve trying to test their willpower with a new boss at the helm. Roma had to deal with their star defender Mehdi Benatia possibly leaving, but those rumours have died off, per Sky Sports.

Strootman is still constantly linked to Manchester United, per English newspaper the Daily Express. On the bright side, that move may not formulate until January, and Roma can expect a hefty sum to re-invest in the squad if the transfer is complete.

Chances are that Strootman won't leave until next summer. Roma have Champions League football ahead of them and will be competitive in Serie A, so there's no reason for the Dutchman to depart for United.

Both Strootman and Benatia staying put are signs that Roma is no longer a selling club. They'll be able to keep most of their squad intact and can stay competitive as a result. They're stable at the moment, which isn’t the case with Juventus. This is one of the best opportunities that the Giallorossi will have to capture a major trophy. They can't let it slip out of their grasp again.

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