Every two seasons, top clubs across Europe lose numerous stars ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, a competition that pits the top nations in the continent against one another to eventually crown the best footballing country in Africa. Perhaps no Premier League club will feel the effects of the competition more than Manchester City, as they stand to lose the irreplaceable Yaya Toure. Toure is one of the best central midfielders in the world and is a major driving force in the formidable City attack.
Between January 19th and February 10th (depending on how far the Ivory Coast progresses in the tournament), City will be without their talisman, a loss that Roberto Mancini will struggle to cope with. This has caused Mancini to consider dipping into the war-chest he is provided each transfer season and who better to splash the cash on than long-time target Daniele De Rossi.
The Manchester Evening News is reporting that the Citizens are planning a January move for the Italian midfielder. AS Roma did lose a significant amount of money last season and are not looking to repeat such a loss and the sale of De Rossi could be just the thing to bump the Roman club into the black. Despite being 29 years old and past his prime, the all-action Italian is still considered one of the top players at his position as few players in the world are able to exhibit the skill and resilience that De Rossi possesses.
For those unfamiliar with De Rossi, not enough can be said about his contributions to a team. He featured at center back in Euro 2012 in a makeshift 3-5-2 masterminded by Cesare Prandelli, but his favored position is in the defensive midfield. That being said, he has considerable attacking acumen and can regularly be seen ripping shots from beyond the 18 as well as being a danger from set pieces. There are virtually no holes in the Italian’s game and he plays in a similar way to Yaya Toure, so City wouldn’t need to change their philosophy to cope with the loss of the Ivorian.
The major stumbling block in the move would be Roma’s willingness to sell their prized asset. Considering how badly Mancini wants the player, a fee would eventually be agreed upon as City can match the 35 million euros that Roma would likely ask for. De Rossi has been touted as the next man to captain AS Roma after the incomparable Francesco Totti finally hangs up his boots. Il Giallorossi would be losing their best player as well as a man who is idolized across Rome and that in it of itself could be enough for De Rossi to remain at the club.
There are few things more concrete than an Italian’s love for his club as the Italian people immortalize players that show loyalty to their teams. Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, and Gianni Rivera are synonymous with Milan; one cannot think of Juventus without mentioning Alessandro Del Piero, Gaetano Scirea, and Gianluigi Buffon; Inter are always associated with Javier Zanetti, Sandro Mazzola, and Giacinto Facchetti. De Rossi is on his way to being amongst the names on the “Mount Rushmore” of AS Roma and that makes City’s proposed move for the Italian a monumental albeit somewhat probable task.