Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Monchi rules out January signings as Roma target the Scudetto

SoccerNews in Serie A 4 Nov 2017

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Monchi has ruled out Roma adding to their playing squad when the transfer window opens in January, stating they are already capable of mounting a serious Scudetto challenge.

Roma have made a solid start to the season under Eusebio Di Francesco, they sit fifth in Serie A after defeats to top two Napoli and Inter but lead their Champions League group after a 3-0 win over Chelsea in midweek.

The club lost some key players during the close-season, the likes of Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rudiger moving on, while the additions of Rick Karsdorp, Cengiz Under, Gregoire Defrel and Patrik Schick are yet to fully bear fruit.

Sporting director Monchi remains confident they can improve the squad and help them push for a first league title since 2001, though he called for everyone at Roma to remain level-headed.

“If you don’t hold out the carrot, the donkey won’t move. Why shouldn’t we talk about winning the title? We’re not the favourites but we have to try,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We started off a bit behind but we’re slowly making our way up to the level of Napoli, Juve and Inter. We’re still in the construction phase but it will be a fine building when it’s finished.

“People need to learn there’s such a thing as grey as well as black and white. You can’t think we’ve won the league after a single victory or that losing to Napoli means we’re aiming for fourth.

“You can’t quell people’s enthusiasm but we do need to rein it in a little. Too many mood swings don’t help. We need to find the right shade of grey.

“We’re not going to do anything in January. Our signings will be the improvement of Defrel and Under, the arrival of Schick and the return of Emerson [Palmieri from injury].”

One of Monchi’s first jobs upon arriving at the Stadio Olimpico last April was to deal with the future of Roma icon Francesco Totti, who retired and moved into a directorial role at the end of the 2016-17 season.

Despite the potential friction that could have arose between the pair in that situation, the Spaniard assured there is no enmity.

Monchi said: “I’d have never imagined we could have such a close relationship, especially as I didn’t come here to offer him a nice new car but instead say, ‘Thanks for everything’.

“Anything could have happened but fortunately it went really well. It’s more down to him than me. On a scale of one to 10, I’d give our relationship an 11. He’s very warm and friendly.

“It’s not easy to change direction after 27 years on the same path. The club did the right thing by giving him the time and space he needed. Totti could have dug his heels in but instead he understood and accepted the situation.”

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