It's the 10th of June 2012, and Italy are ready to take on Spain in the opening match of Group C in the 2012 UEFA European Championships. The Italians are huge underdogs, not only for the match, but the competition in general and in Cesare Prandelli, they have a relatively untested manager, at least at this level of the game. The team-news emerges out of Poland, and Prandelli has seemingly opted for a three-man defense that includes Daniele De Rossi – who made his name as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder. All signs point to a Spanish victory, but when the final whistle goes in Gdansk, it is the Italians who are celebrating. They have held the reigning European and World Champions to a surprise draw – thanks to a typically pragmatic performance, spearheaded by the defensive work of Daniele De Rossi.
Now, fast-forward roughly a year, and the very same Daniele De Rossi is linked with a move to Chelsea, for an absurdly low €10 million (h/t to fellow SBN Blog, We Ain’t Got No History).
Sure, it’s just a rumour so the price might be wrong and the player might not be willing to leave, but on the off-chance that there is a grain of truth in this story, why aren’t Barcelona interested? At €10 million, this deal would be incredibly affordable for the Blaugrana – and in De Rossi, Barça would gain a player who is genuinely capable of playing in a number of positions. A defensive midfielder by trade, De Rossi could equally fill in at centre-midfield – providing the kind of balance and strength that we haven’t seen in the Barcelona midfield since Seydou Keita departed for Dalian Aerbin. With Thiago Alcântara considering a possible exit from the Camp Nou, a place might just be opening up in our midfield rotation – who better than De Rossi to fill that role?
And that’s without considering De Rossi as a makeshift (or even regular) centre-half. Faced with the option of purchasing David Luiz, for a fee in excess of €25 million, potentially going without a centre-half for another season (and all that entails...ahem, Adriano), or possibly nabbing a bargain in De Rossi, I know what I’d prefer...