In the not too distant past, Chelsea were linked with one Italian football’s star players. Rumour has it that Chelsea offered €10million to sign Roma bad boy and midfield general, Daniele De Rossi. Whilst the story remains pure speculation, let’s take a look at what the midfielder has to offer.
What do we know about De Rossi?
He’s Italian, he plays for Roma, he’s 29 years old. Aside from the obvious he has represented his country at every level from seniors to U19s and featured for his club an impressive 418 times over the course of 12 seasons. De Rossi, is along with Totti, the hear and soul of Roma. He has been the heir apparent to Totti’s crown but a less than romantic season with his boyhood club has left the opportunity for a move abroad wide open.
What can we expect if he signs?
De Rossi is the complete midfielder with an abundance of talent. There is a certain similarity to Michael Essien in that his ability to dominate in midfield whether defensively or on the ball, sets him apart from his peers. There is no shortage of tenacity in his game and a player that is almost visibly fuelled by passion, making it obvious as to why the player is firmly a fan-favourite. Having found the back of the net a total of 47 times in his career from a predominantly deeper role, he is no stranger to contributing on that front (At least, far more than Makelele did or Mikel will ever manage). Able to retain the ball very well, he is a very difficult player to dispossess in the middle of the pitch and that can be credited not only to his physical presence but his intelligence and awareness on the pitch. Positioning is a key attribute to his game, especially from a defensive perspective. He is far more adept at breaking up play by intercepting the ball rather than dispossessing opponents by tackling them. A feature of his game which can get away with him when coupled with his aggressive nature and short temper.
Having played under the high tempo Roma attack which has a resemblance to that of Chelsea in that the three players in behind the striker are not only the source of creativity but an abundance of goals, De Rossi’s ability to act as a catalyst for the movement will be invaluable.
Where does he fit in?
De Rossi by trade is perhaps one of the best central or defensive midfielders in world football. Versatile enough to fill a position in either a 2 or 3 man midfield. His aforementioned ability to be able to involve players quickly and precisely means he will be ideally suited to play behind the more creative players within the squad who at times struggled to receive the ball enough in games to make the impact expected of them. De Rossi also adds an intensity combined with physical and technical play that is sorely missing in Chelsea’s midfield. Where Ramires can provide an intensity, he lacks in physical and technical presence and ability. Mikel often finds himself a victim of the reverse, an apparent lack of effort, especially under Benitez drew criticism that he had finally (rightfully) manage to put to rest.
De Rossi has been one of my all time favourite non-Chelsea players. A player that could’ve been considered the very best in his trade had he made a transfer away from Roma earlier in his career but his loyalty to his club is commendable. A complete midfielder that would be able to bring back the physical element that Chelsea’s midfield have sorely missed from the days of Ballack, Essien & Lampard in their younger years. At 29, he perhaps doesn’t fill the criteria of recent signings with the future in mind but it is important to balance youth with experience, in a side that far too frequently last season looked void of a leader and that is one of De Rossi’s finest qualities, he is a leader and at the rumoured value of a transfer occurring in the range of €10-20million, it represents very good value for money.
You didn’t think I’d do all this and not mention his appearance… The one short and long sleeve combo that accompanies the mane he calls a beard, add a certain imposing quality to his game. A presence on the field that one Michael Ballack carried around with him and instilled fear into the opposition, just by looking at them.