AS Roma’s signing of Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko could have major repercussions for Serie A and Italian football as a whole.
The top flight in Italy was once the envy of all other domestic competitions, with almost every notable name imaginable plying their trade on the peninsula throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.
However, the huge cash injections pumped into the English Premier League from television rights dwarfed investment in the Italian game, thus prompting several world-class players to try their luck on British shores instead.
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Now, due largely to Juventus’ fine run to last season’s Champions League final held in Berlin, the reputation of Serie A is on the rise.
Along with reigning champions Juve, the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan are beginning to spend serious money in order to fulfil ambitions of reclaiming their place amongst the European elite.
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Plus, the arrival of Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko at Roma is yet another prime example of a renaissance which is steadily gathering pace.
Dzeko brings with him an impressive record from spells at English side Manchester City and Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga, which showcases a healthy return of 50 goals in 130 league appearances and 66 in 111 respectively.
The 29-year-old endured a lean year by his standards last term, notching on just four occasions in 22 Premier League outings.
But, his previous goalscoring exploits illustrate just how potent he can be when handed regular playing opportunities.
Having also hit the back of the net 42 times during 72 international caps for his country, he absolutely must be classed among the very best centre-forwards on the planet.
14 YEARS OF HURT
At 6ft 4in, Dzeko is an imposing figure, but his physicality isn’t the only attribute that he possesses. He is strong in the air, holds the ball up in exemplary fashion, and is very comfortable in possession.
He represents everything that was absent from Roma’s forward line last season, with a sadly ageing Francesco Totti and Adem Ljajic joint-top league scorers on a meagre tally of eight strikes apiece.
Dzeko’s arrival at the Stadio Olimpico also sends a direct message to Juventus and the other potential Scudetto contenders, which declares that the Giallorossi are ready to fight for a title they last claimed in 2001.
Roma won that Serie A crown on the back of Gabriel Batistuta’s prolific streak in front of goal, which saw the Argentine plunder an outstanding 20 goals in 28 matches.
Early signs appear promising, after the new addition scored twice on his debut in a home friendly clash against Spanish outfit Sevilla.
And, given the Sarajevo-born star’s ratio in league action – across the period spent at his last two clubs – amounts to a goal every 2.07 games, perhaps Dzeko could be the man that finally fires Roma to a long-awaited fourth championship triumph.
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