We’ve heard the Edin Dzeko to Inter story so many times over the past couple of years that it’s almost hard to believe the Bosnian is finally suiting up in Nerazzurri colors. To wrap our heads around Inter’s newest signing, we talked to those that know him best. Bren, the Lord Commander over at the excellent Chiesa di Totti, was kind enough to answer some Dzeko-related queries we had and give us the heads up on what to expect from the man in third in Roma’s all-time scoring charts.
Q: What does Edin Dzeko bring to the table? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
A: Well, quite simply, Edin Dzeko is one of the most complete strikers of his generation. He doesn’t generate as many headlines as Zlatan or Benzema or players of that ilk, but there is very little he can’t do on the pitch. As far as his strengths are concerned, you’ll notice he’s quite an adept playmaker, especially for a player his size. He can lay it off, hold up play, thread through balls into the box, and even occasionally dribble past players on the edge of the box to fire in a cross. And, of course, the guy can score: he’s the third all-time leading scorer in Roma history. He uses his body in the area extremely well, he scores with both feet, he’s quick to get on the end of a cross, and he’ll score some genuinely sensational goals.
In terms of weaknesses, it all comes down to shooting efficiency and accuracy. Despite all the goals he’s scored for Roma, he could have had so many more if here more clinical in front of goal. We’re talking in terms of goals per 90, shot accuracy, and conversion rate. For whatever reason, he’s just not an efficient forward, and really, that’s what’s kept him out of the discussion with all the truly great strikers of the past decade.
In the end, the pros outweigh the cons, but, trust me, you’ll still notice the cons.
Q: What legacy does the Bosnian leave behind in the Eternal City? What is the Roma perspective on the transfer?
A: That’s an excellent and very difficult question to answer. Despite being the club’s 3rd all-time leading scorer, he’s not as beloved as some other Roma legends. He had a tendency, at least over the past few seasons, to be kind of demonstrative with his dissatisfaction on the pitch. So you’d see him throwing his arms up in disgust, pointing where he wanted the ball, cursing under his breath; that kind of thing. On the order of player complaints, that’s pretty minimal, but it definitely rubbed some fans the wrong way. And when you couple that with the string of transfer rumors we’ve dealt with over the past two to three years—and his tendency to waste chances— it got a bit tiresome.
But, at the end of the day, the results speak for themselves. If you told us six years ago, Dzeko would leave Roma as the third all-time leading scorer, we probably would have fallen over ourselves in ecstasy. Roma had been chasing a striker like Dzeko since Batistuta left town, so despite some minor complaints, his legacy with Roma is secure. I suspect when he comes back to catch a match five years from now, he’ll be met with deafening applause.
Q: How do you see Dzeko fitting into Simone Inzaghi’s system compared to the coaches he’s played under at Roma? How do you see Dzeko’s 2021/22 season play out?
A: I can’t pretend to be an expert on Inzaghi’s tactics, but Dzeko’s best Roma work came under Luciano Spalletti and his 4-2-3-1. When he had players like Stephan El Shaarawy, Diego Perotti, and Mohamed Salah running off him and/or feeding him, he excelled. So in that light, he’s really no different than any other striker with his size/profile: he’s only as good as the service he gets. While he’s a good playmaker and does a lot of the dirty work when things slow down, he’s not the type of striker who can change a match on his own.
If I had to venture a guess, if Dzeko gets around 2,000 minutes in the league, he should get you at least 10 goals. But if he’s rejuvenated by this move and strikes up quick chemistry with the rest of your attack, 15 isn’t out of the question.