Three men Roma must keep at the club to win Serie A next season

Roma’s inclusion in the Serie A title race has been a breath of fresh air this season, with champions Juventus given a dangerous and able rival for the Scudetto.

Although the Stadio Olimpico outfit are mathematically still able to finish first, the Turin giants look almost certain to lift their third-straight title – they are five points clear of the Giallorossi with a game in hand going into the final weeks of the season.

However, Rudi Garcia’s men’s second-placed position is a testament to Roma’s improvement, as the club have finished sixth twice and seventh in their last three campaigns.

The return to Champions League football will help the side attract stellar reinforcements in the summer – but the most important factor for Roma’s progression is to keep all of this campaign’s heroes at the club.

Kevin Strootman’s unfortunate injury may have a silver lining in that it could scare off potential suitors, while the likes of Adem Ljajić, Mattia Destro and Mehdi Benatia are key players that must not be sold under any circumstances.

However, for Roma to pose a real threat in the race for the Scudetto next season and potentially be crowned Italian champions for a fourth time, these three must remain at the Stadio Olimpico.

Miralem Pjanić

The Bosnian midfielder has been a revelation this season, playing a key role in scoring and assisting goals for the side and providing real quality in the final third.

Pjanić’s ability was on show in the 2-0 win over AC Milan on Friday night, with the eastern European playmaker scoring a superb individual goal. In total, the 24-year-old has scored six Serie A goals this season and set up six more.

With his contract set to expire in the summer of 2015, it is critical that the powers that be at the club extend Pjanić’s deal as soon as possible to ensure they do not lose arguably their most technically gifted player.

Plenty of major European clubs will be keeping tabs on his progress, and with a chance to shine at this summer’s World Cup, suitors will not be in short supply.

Pjanić is critical to Roma’s continued presence in Serie A’s echelons.

Radja Nainggolan

Radja NainggolanStrootman’s performances in the first half of the season were a key reason for Roma’s excellent start to the campaign and his injury has robbed the side of a truly top-drawer midfielder.

However, the impact of the Netherlands international’s absence has been minimised by the introduction of loan signing Radja Nainggolan.

The Belgium international joined the Giallorossi from Cagliari on loan in January and has plugged the gap left by Strootman and more.

With Roma able to make his move to the capital permanent for around €6 million, the 25-year-old would be a very clever addition to the squad and increase the number of quality options in midfield.

Rudi Garcia

When Roma sold their top two attackers from last season in the summer, Erik Lamela and Pablo Osvaldo, and also cashed in on Marquinhos, a title challenge looked out of the question this term.

However, Rudi Garcia’s introduction as head coach has seen him change the ethos of the team and mastermind a fantastic campaign for the club.

With all the speculation over who the next Manchester United and Tottenham managers will be, I have been surprised that the two-time French Manager of the Year has largely not been mentioned.

He led Lille to an unexpected Ligue 1 triumph in 2010-11 and has the potential to replicate this feat in Italy with Roma.

The way he has gotten the best out of Gervinho in particular has been nothing short of spectacular, while the whole squad seem to have taken to their new boss and are fighting for him on the pitch.

Forget Strootman, Francesco Totti or Daniele De Rossi; Rudi Garcia is the most important man at the club and should be guarded with extreme care.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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