Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Spalletti: Roma's Strootman, Paredes both better than Pjanic

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Luciano Spalletti believes Roma is better off without Miralem Pjanic.

The Bosnian midfielder secured a high-profile transfer to Juventus earlier this summer after the Serie A champion activated the player’s €38-million release clause.

But Spalletti has other options at his disposal. Kevin Strootman has recovered from debilitating knee injuries, while promising Argentinian Leandro Paredes has returned from a successful season-long loan at Empoli.

The Italian boss considers both of them an improvement over Pjanic, even though he was one of just two Serie A players to reach double-digits in goals (10) and assists (12) last season.

“We have Strootman to replace Pjanic and Strootman is better than Pjanic. We have Paredes to replace Pjanic and Paredes is better than Pjanic,” Spalletti told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Serie A opener against Udinese. “The players we have are better than those that have left.

“That helps us progress. We’re in good shape.”

Pjanic was the one who requested a move to Turin, leaving Roma in no position to reject Juve’s advances.

It also stirred up resentful emotions from his former teammates. Strootman said he would never join Juventus, while Radja Nainggolan reportedly vowed he would never speak to Pjanic again.

Regardless, the Giallorossi have a tough task ahead of them. Long-term injuries to Antonio Rudiger and Mario Rui have left them scrambling at the back, and Thomas Vermaelen‘s red-card debut against Porto on Wednesday left many questions unanswered.

But the arrival of Bruno Peres from Torino should alleviate problems. The Brazilian right-back will liberate Alessandro Florenzi from his full-back obligations, allowing the Italy international to play a more natural midfield role.

“We can always get better – we could even look for another player in midfield – but right now we’re sticking with what we’ve got,” Spalletti said. “Unless something unexpected happens, we have the quality we need to play our game and show what we can do.”

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