Edin Dzeko looks increasingly likely to stay at Roma for a seventh season after Tiago Pinto pointed out the “special” bond between the striker and new coach Jose Mourinho.
It seems to be tradition that Dzeko is linked with a move away from Roma every summer, but this year such speculation felt more genuine. The Bosnian forward fell out with Paulo Fonseca last season, causing a decline in form.
Dzeko began to improve in the final weeks of the season, earning a standing ovation from his teammates for his performance against Lazio, which many predicted may have been his last game at Stadio Olimpico.
But the shock appointment of Mourinho as Roma’s new coach has opened the door for Dzeko to stay. The former Manchester City player was praised by the Special One during their time in the Premier League; Mourinho even went as far as describing him as the best player in the division in the 2013-14 season.
“My player of the year would always be from the champions,” Mourinho said in May 2014. “Manchester City need a point. I would say a City player and I would choose Dzeko.
“He was the third striker at the beginning of the season and when the team needed him, in crucial moments, he made the difference. He has 16 goals. Sixteen for the third striker is something spectacular. He’s not just a goalscorer. He assists, he plays.
“He behaves, he’s fair, he doesn’t dive, doesn’t try to put opponents on the stands with accumulation of cards.”Embed from Getty Images
Hence, it seemed like they would be enthusiastic to work together, but doubts were raised in Mourinho’s introductory press conference in Rome. When asked if Dzeko could be reinstated as captain, he said such a decision would be made internally and did not discuss the player in detail.
However, general manager Tiago Pinto has now given the clearest indication yet that Dzeko can stay into the final year of his contract.
Speaking to DAZN yesterday, when the Serie A fixtures were announced, Pinto suggested the number nine was set to stay.
“He is happy, motivated and in shape physically,” Pinto said. “Mourinho has a special relationship with Dzeko and we hope he is important for us this season.”
Dzeko is Roma’s third highest scorer of all time and sits 25th in their list of leading appearance makers. It now looks more likely than ever that he will add to those tallies.