Antonio Rudiger won't be leaving Roma this summer – sporting director Monchi
Roma will not be selling Antonio Rudiger this summer as they look to strengthen their squad for new coach Eusebio Di Francesco.
Di Francesco, who was appointed Roma boss earlier this week, inherits a side that finished second to Juventus in Serie A last season and he is keen to keep hold of his current set of players as they look to make the step up next term.
Roma sporting director Monchi said that he has the same intention while confirming that Rudiger is not going to follow ex-coach Luciano Spalletti to Inter Milan.
“We have no intention of selling our best players,” he said at a news conference. “We want to give our new coach a squad who are competitive and ready to win. We’ve not received any offers for Rudiger and there is absolutely no chance that he will leave.”
Monchi did not rule out the sale of Mohamed Salah, however, with Liverpool yet to match their asking price.
“It is true that there is interest in Salah from an English club. There is an offer, but we set the price and we decide if we sell at that price,” he said. “Roma are not a supermarket. Our aim is to get better than last season. We need to keep together the best possible squad.”
That means also keeping hold of Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan, two key players Di Francesco is looking forward to working with.
“Strootman is an excellent attacking midfielder and he’s shown recently how well he can time his runs,” Di Francesco said at a news conference. “He’s leading by example again. He’s like a captain out there and he’s the ideal sort of player to play wide in a three-man midfield.
“Nainggolan can easily score 18 goals a season playing as an attacking midfielder and he’s perfectly capable of starting in a slightly wider position. I was brought here because I play a certain brand of football so it’s only right I should teach that brand of football to my players.”
Another player Di Francesco is keen to keep hold of is Daniele De Rossi.
“The first person I called when I knew I was coming back was Daniele,” he said. “I think he encapsulates what Roma is all about with his attitude and the way he does things. My son plays for Bologna and he’s a huge Roma fan. He loves De Rossi and I understand why: whenever a teammate scores he’s the first to rush over to congratulate him and celebrate.
“I think a lot of players can learn from that. In terms of his football ability, there’s not really much to say. I think he’s a player the whole team can look to, regardless of whether he plays or not.
“I think Roma have a very competitive team with some really interesting, high-profile players. They’ve had to go up against a very strong opponent in Juve, but Roma have shown they’re a top-level team.”
Di Francesco also hopes he will be able to count on the backing of the Roma fans next season, with his predecessor Spalletti saying on Wednesday that one of the reasons he felt compelled to leave was his failure to get the supporters onside.
“Having experienced it first hand, I can tell you that it’s vital [to have the support of the Curva Sud],” former Roma player Di Francesco said. “I’m convinced that they are and will always be our 12th man.
“Anyone who loves or wears this shirt has a unique bond with it and I think the Curva is capable of giving the players that extra something they need. As the coach, I want to create a real sense of belonging at this club.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.