Alisson and Cengiz Under this summer will not be leaving Roma this summer with president James Pallotta saying his club are “not a supermarket.”
Goalkeeper Alisson is earning the plaudits having become No. 1 following the departure of Wojciech Szczesny to Juventus, and his stock is rising with many of Europe’s top clubs.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Liverpool have recently stepped up their pursuit of Alisson after holding talks with the player’s agent.
Under is on Barcelona’s radar, according to Roma sporting director Monchi, and he has already been made aware of the La Liga side’s interest.
“There’s a frustration on my part that people go ‘Oh, Roma’s a supermarket,'” Pallotta told Sirius XM radio. “We’re not trying to just sell players. We’ve tied Under down on a five-year contract, and the situation’s similar with Alisson.
“I was a fan of his right from day one and I’m glad he’s finally showing how good he is, because he’s been incredible. I think players like [Patrik] Shick are also going to be very useful in the future.
“Monchi has had to face many problems due to financial fair play and there’s still a bit of work to do, but we’ve identified many ways in which we can improve the team in the coming five years.”
— SiriusXM FC | NOW SiriusXM ch. 157 (@SiriusXMFC) March 28, 2018
The sale of Miralem Pjanic to Juventus and Mohamed Salah to Liverpool were inevitable, on the other hand, and not a trend Pallotta can see continuing.
“Two of our players, like Pjanic — he had a release clause. He had to go,” he said. “Salah, while he is tearing up the Premier League, he asked us and said that he wanted to leave and had no time left on his contract, so we had no choice.
“There are things that go on behind the scenes that people don’t realise. Either players want to leave or there are things we have to do.”
Pallotta nevertheless believes the Giallorossi have a strong side — strong enough even to give Barcelona a game in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
“I couldn’t have been happier [with the draw] because I believe we can hold our own against anybody,” he said. “We’ve already done it with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Shakhtar and I’m pretty confident about Barca.
“People say it’s a bit like David against Goliath, but I don’t look at Roma as any less than Barcelona.”
Roma travel to the Camp Nou next Wednesday before hosting the Blaugrana the following Tuesday. They have never reached the semifinals of the Champions League, although they did reach the final of its precursor, the European Cup, in 1984 and were UEFA Cup finalists in 1991. Since then, they have never progressed beyond the quarterfinals of any European club competition.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.