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Rumor Mill: Italian Edition

Rumors. Dembélé. The Daily Mail. What's not to love? Well, the fact that we could lose one of our better players for one.

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Here we go again. What would be a transfer window without a little bit of narrative to it right? While the Evening Standard has said that Manchester United, Monaco, Feyenoord, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli are all "monitoring" Dembélé, once again our reports come from the Daily Mail, which our partners-in-blog Cartilage Free Captain rightfully say should be taken "with an entire truckload of salt."

This time, according to the Daily Mail, Moussa Dembélé is attracting attention from Serie A, most notably Juventus and Roma. While I would normally pass over such rumors by simply making a mental note of the situation and continue on my merry way, similar to the Tottenham story it is probably worthwhile to at the very least contemplate the idea. Moussa Dembélé, such as we all know, is a French national and joined from Paris Saint-Germain in 2012. As far as the story goes, he apparently has no other connection to Italy other than the fact that they like football/soccer just as much as we do. Looking at the two clubs in question, one can infer based on league position and recent events that Juventus’s interest goes little further than an investment in the future, while Roma’s interest on the other hand, may go somewhat deeper.

Strictly taking a look at Roma, as of January 17, 2016 Roma sit at a comfortable fifth place in Serie A. They have 35 points after this morning's draw with bottom-of-the-table-and-almost-certain-to-be-relegated Verona, which leaves them with a +14 goal differential. While those who support a club that is more familiar with the lower end of the table may say that this is nothing to worry about, Roma’s faithful may beg to differ. The club is now once again under management of Luciano Spalletti after it was decided that Rudi Garcia’s managerial skills would no longer be required since sitting in fifth place and maintaining a stretch of only one win in ten matches was unbecoming of a club that possessed as many resources such as theirs.

So where does Fulham’s Demélé fit into all of this? Well… he apparently doesn’t. Roma’s attacking department is, a-HEM, esteemed… to say the least. However, they are struggling for wins, so desperate times may call for desperate measures, even if that means gambling on a nineteen-year-old that may take a while to develop to the level of performance that Roma supporters have come to expect from their team. I myself am far removed from being an expert in Italian football, but Juventus probably falls along the same lines, minus the whole midseason-sack-of-the-manager and one-win-in-ten-games issue.

Where this potential transfer becomes particularly interesting (whether it is to Tottenham, Roma, Juventus, or one of the many other clubs interested) is when one examines what Fulham will get in return. We know that Bolton, Fulham and Nottingham Forest are currently in the midst of a transfer embargo that will last for the rest of the season, which means that Slavisa Jokanovic is limited to loans that only pay wage and not an extra fee.

The Fulham manager mentioned this notion in his post-match comments following the Huddersfield Town draw:

This is not my target, my target is to win the game. Generally I believe we are starting to improve, but there is still a big space in front of us. Our obligation is to play better football than we are playing right now. With more time, with more training, and if we can bring people in next week on loan, we can make these steps.

These three powerful clubs obviously have a lot to offer a 19th place English Championship team, even if there is a transfer embargo in place. While Jokanoivc doesn’t want to lose Dembélé, to use an American idiom, the ball is in Fulham's court when determining what he really wants to get out of the French attacker, although Jokanovic and the rest of the higher-ups are certainly pressured by the fact that Dembélé is out of contract at the end of the season and may seek to leave regardless.

So, when it comes down to it, who actually knows? Dembélé is an obviously talented and promising player that we all will enjoy watching preform for years to come, regardless if he leaves the club tomorrow or retires at Fulham… Hopefully the latter, lest us forget the entire truckload of salt.