It was one of the most exciting summers for AS Roma of the last decade as Giallorossi won their first UEFA trophy in May when they lifted the UEFA Conference League. It was a moment of change for the club's history, as it was also followed by very intriguing summer transfer business when the club signed players such as Nemanja Matic, Gini Wijnaldum and most importantly free agent Paulo Dybala. The excitement among the fans is unbelievable and put more pressure on the team and the coach, who are now called to create something special during the season. AS Roma have all the cards now to become one of the main clubs to watch out this season.
Here's what to know about them ahead of the season kicking off this weekend:
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Summer transfer business
Dybala to AS Roma was probably the most unexpected and interesting transfer of the summer. The 28-year-old came to grips with his decision late in the summer after he failed to agree to terms on a contract extension with Juventus and despite his agent previously holding talks with Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri moved in another direction as soon as Romelu Lukaku became available for a reunion via loan from Chelsea. And from that moment on, there were no further talks with Dybala's camp. The veteran striker waited for several weeks, hoping that the club could squeeze him in by way of several other players potentially leaving the club. But things didn't change at all and AS Roma jumped in the race to sign the striker.
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"The days that have led up to me signing this contract have been filled with so many emotions," Dybala said after officially joining Roma. "The speed and determination with which Roma demonstrated just how much they wanted me made all the difference. I am joining a team that is on the up, a club that continues to put in place strong foundations for the future, and a coach, Jose Mourinho, that it will be a privilege to work with. As an opponent I have always admired the atmosphere created by the Roma fans - I now cannot wait for the chance to salute them while wearing this shirt".
Dybala was unveiled in front of more than ten thousand fans in Rome and all the Giallorossi crowd is eager to see him playing for their beloved club.
Apart from Dybala, AS Roma managed to sign free agent Matic, who is a player that Jose Mourinho knows really well from his past experiences at Chelsea and Manchester United. The club also signed right back Zeki Celik from Lille, goalkeeper Mile Svilar and Wijnaldum on loan from Paris Saint Germain. Also, there were no real exits, as AC Milan permanently signed Alessandro Florenzi and Olympique Marseille signed Jordan Veretout, both of which were expected. Key player Nicolò Zaniolo, who was in talks with Juventus during the summer, is now expected to stay at the club despite the fact that his contract is expiring in the summer of 2024 and talks have stalled in the past months.
What to expect from AS Roma
There is a lot of attention and expectations around the club this season after a very solid transfer window and the UEFA Conference League's victory of the last season. Jose Mourinho needs to improve the performances in the domestic league and AS Roma's main target has to be to arrive in the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League's group stage. "The Special One" is always looking to win more trophies and Giallorossi can be considered as one of the favorites for the Coppa Italia alongside the other top teams. At the European level, the UEFA Europa League won't be an easy one considering the level of the competitors, but the fact that Roma won the first edition of the UEFA Conference League has to be taken into account.
Three players to watch out
Paulo Dybala: The Argentinian striker will have all the eyes on him and there are a lot of expectations around his potential impact on the squad. His performances will be key to understand how the team will perform during the season.
Gianluca Mancini: Last year he had a very solid season. We talked a lot about strikers and midfielders but his performances will tell us a lot about how well this side can do this year as they look for stability.
Nicolò Zaniolo: He's now set to stay at the club. Last season was quite disappointing and there are way more expectations this season, especially after the arrival of Dybala. If Zaniolo performs better, the whole team will benefit from it. It will be on Mourinho's shoulders to find a way to find a space in this team for him.
AS Roma predictions
- Serie A finish: 4th
- Top scorer: Tammy Abraham
- Player of the season: Dybala
- Something unexpected: AS Roma will bring back Francesco Totti to the club's board.