Serie A 2013-2014 season previews: Roma embark on another new era

Paolo Bruno

It seems Roma are in a constant state of flux in recent years. This season brings the beginning of Rudi Garcia's reign, but will it bring European play as well?

AS Roma are, once again, embarking on a new project for the upcoming Serie A season. The club weren't happy with Luis Enrique's attempt to bring Barcelona to Italy two seasons ago, and then were dissatisfied with Zdenek Zeman's inability to field a side that knew how to defend. This year it's time for Rudi Garcia to show his stuff -- but will he and his new squad get enough time to prove themselves before the door revolves once again?

Last Season

Was hilarious. If you weren't a Roma fan. Unfortunately the bigwigs in charge of the club only let Zeman stay on until February, when they then appointed Aurelio Andreazzoli as caretaker manager for the rest of the season. But Zeman's free flowing, attacking style sure made Roma fun for much of the season, with the side scoring an absurd amount of goals -- 71 over the course of the entire season -- and then comically conceding them at just the wrong moments. Under Andreazzoli the team managed to pull itself back together a bit, making fewer defensive errors and managing to finish sixth, one point above rivals Lazio.

Who's Gone?

Marquinhos: When PSG come knocking, it's a bit hard to turn a deaf ear. Especially when they show up at the door bearing €32m for a 19 year old with one good season under his belt. Even if your side conceded 57 goals last season (as many as relegated Siena) you'll take the money and run.

Pablo Osvaldo: Southampton just announced the official signing of the forward, who's been at Roma the past two seasons. The giallorossi certainly weren't complaining about the number of goals he's scored while at the club -- 27 goals in 55 league appearances for the Italian -- but they're tired of dealing with his disciplinary issues and notorious short fuse.

Maarten Stekelenburg: Stek had a bit of a rough two seasons in Rome. He fell out of favor for a couple months last season, but returned to starting goalkeeping duties when Aurelio Andreazzoli took temporary charge. He's now gone to see if he can find greener pastures at Fulham.

Panagiotis Tachtsidis: Genoa signed the midfielder after his one, not-very-successful, season at Roma. Then they immediately traded up for Francesco Lodi, and the Greek is now at Catania.

Nico Lopez: Another forward bites the dust. This one washed up at Udinese. If 19 year olds can wash up.

Simone Perrotta: After eight seasons with Roma, Perrotta retired at age 35.

Who's In?

Kevin Strootman: Roma signed the Dutch international for €17m from PSV, hoping to add a little reinforcement to their midfield and possibly, just possibly, protect that fragile backline. Of course, Strootman went and got himself injured in the final friendly of the season. Because this is Roma.

Morgan De Sanctis: Fans of Roma now get to enjoy the special antics of De Sanctis, who has, shall we say, an unconventional style of goalkeeping. The former Italian international joins up after four seasons at Napoli.

Maicon: If someone could explain why signing a 32 year old right back who failed to impress in his final season at Inter Milan and could barely make the bench at Manchester City is a good move for a team with a seriously hapless defense...well, it'd be appreciated.

Gervinho: Roma are taking a gamble, picking up the Ivorian from Arsenal. He wasn't as successful in London as the Gunners had hoped, scoring just five Premier League goals last season and spending much of the second half of the season on the bench. But perhaps a change of scenery is just what the forward needs.

Tin Jedvaj: Yet another risk on the part of the giallorossi -- picking up a 17 year old to fill the Marquinhos-shaped hole in their lives. Although Jedvaj is highly rated by Balkan observers, it's worth remembering he played just 14 times for Dinamo Zagreb.

Mehdi Benatia: But it's ok! There's Benatia to pick up the slack! Yeah, it's more likely that the former Udinese man will see the majority of playing time. But hey, it's Roma.

Keep An Eye On

Erik Lamela. If he stays. It would seem Roma wouldn't be foolish enough to sell both Osvaldo and Coco, but stranger things have happened. The Argentine is still young, just 21 years of age, but he was an integral part of the Roma side last season. He had 15 goals in 33 appearances, putting him one shy of Osvaldo but with the compensating virtue that he's the one taking the punches rather than throwing him. Plus, Lamela is just fun to watch speeding around the pitch.

Predicted Finish

Just outside the European places, once again. With Roma going through systematic overhauls each season, it's tough to see the squad coming together in a fashion that allows them to wiggle their way into Europa. Inter Milan are stronger this year, Udinese are always a threat no matter how many players they sell, Napoli are more prepared to compete on multiple fronts, Fiorentina have made smart additions and Juventus are Juventus. But the giallorossi can take comfort in likely finishing above Lazio again, so there's that.

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