Following a difficult first season with Roma, Edin Dzeko is in search of redemption in his second year.
About a year ago, Edin Dzeko joined Roma from Manchester City, a signing that created a lot of hype in the nation’s capital. It was quickly considered one of Roma’s best signings in the last 10 years as Dzeko brought a proven track record with him and was seen as the solution to their striker problems. The Bosnian international came in as one of the most feared #9’s in football as he has had great success either with Wolfsburg or at Manchester City. Some even thought Roma couldn’t have landed someone like Dzeko. A striker with European pedigree was always high on the wish list at Roma. Going into the new year with Dzeko signed, there was a reason to be excited. To put things into perspective, over 1000 people showed up at the airport for his arrival in the capital city. His first display was in a friendly match with Roma where he scored a brace only further brought up the excitement levels surrounding the player.
The former Manchester City man then went on to score against Juventus in a 2-1 win at the Olimpico. It was a true #9’s goal as the Bosnian towered over Chiellini and fired it past a helpless Buffon. At this point, it was hard for Roma fans to keep their expectations in check. From there, however, it was mostly down hill. After that, he struggled to find the net with any sort of consistency and that trend reoccured throughout the whole season. Highly inconsistent performances coupled with some horrid misses saw Dzeko dropped from Roma’s starting eleven for the most part of the second half of the season. Looking back, it’s fair to say Dzeko’s first season in Rome did not go according to plan.
Fast forward to July 2016, Dzeko maintains that he will stay at Roma. Despite offers from other clubs the player is committed to redeeming himself following last season’s debacle. Spalletti, who often used a false nine tactic instead of playing Dzeko is well aware of the Bosnian’s quality. Recently, Spalletti has heaped praise on his striker and is confident he will flourish in his system this season. So with Dzeko staying and the coach behind him, can he turn it around?
The answer is yes. In the right system, Dzeko can be a lethal striker and we’ve all seen that. His pre-season form to date has been staggering. Sure, it’s only pre-season but it still counts for something, right? He started off by scoring four goals against Pinzolo and then one vs Terek Grozny. As if that wasn’t enough, Dzeko went on to score against both Liverpool and the Montreal Impact. He then followed that up with another four against Lundi. Last season, Dzeko didn’t get a chance to have a full pre-season with the team, which is an underrated aspect in modern football. For the majority of last summer, the player was unaware if he’d stay in England or join Roma as negotiations between both clubs dragged on. It’s not easy to prepare for a season when you’re future is in doubt. This year, however, Dzeko will have a pre-season campaign under his belt and will be raring to go.
Then of course there is the trust factor. Spalletti has highlighted on many occasions this summer that Dzeko is integral to his plans and that he has put in a lot of one-on-one work with him. Under Rudi Garcia, Dzeko wasn’t afforded this luxury. In fact, it seemed that the Frenchman would force him into the lineup due to his price and reputation more than anything.
In addition, Dzeko’s typically had immense second seasons at clubs. At Wolfsburg & Manchester City the Bosnian got off to rough starts, but his second seasons were always his best. In his first year at Wolfsburg he scored just 8 but he followed it up with 26 goals where he led them to a Bundesliga title as well as notching player of the year in Germany. At Manchester City, by contrast, he notched two goals in 15 appearances after joining them mid-way through the season. The following season, however, he would go on to score 22 goals in a title-winning year with the English giants. The year after that Dzeko scored another 26 goals, improving on the year before. Time and time again Dzeko has proven to get better the longer he is at clubs. This should be no different at Roma. This season Dzeko will be crucial to any success the giallorossi will have. Spalletti is currently saying all the right things while the player is putting in the work. It’s now or never for Edin Dzeko or his Roma stay will be forever labelled a bust.