AS Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco is eager to see the current transfer saga surrounding a potential move to Chelsea for Edin Dzeko reach its conclusion, but insists he will not hesitate to continue selecting the experienced striker despite that ongoing fervent speculation.
Dzeko has emerged as the lead target in Antonio Conte's committed January quest to find an old-fashioned target man, with The Guardian reporting that Chelsea have seen a £44m ($62.7m) bid plus add-ons of £13.2m accepted for the Bosnian international and Giallorossi teammate Emerson Palmieri.
Personal terms for the former were said to be the only remaining barrier to confirmation of a high-profile double transfer swoop, though Roma sporting director Monchi challenged that perception on Wednesday evening (24 January) by insisting that offers received for his services thus far had been deemed "unacceptable".
Former Manchester City frontman Dzeko is believed to be keen on a return to the Premier League provided he receives assurances regarding regular starting opportunities and his agent, whose proposed trip to London was delayed as he awaits a visa, is able to negotiate an acceptable contract with a club whose policy over recent years has been not to spend money on or offer deals longer than one-year to players aged 30 and above.
However, he is clearly not attempting to force through an exit from the Italian capital and started as usual in the 1-1 Serie A draw against Inter Milan on Sunday [21 January] before playing the full 90 minutes and netting a header in second-half stoppage time last night to rescue a point for Roma at Sampdoria's Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
"He made himself available for the game, despite the many rumours," Di Francesco told the Italian press after that latest tie, per The Independent. "He is a player who sometimes you can see little of, but then he appears. It's a choice for the club, determined by many factors.
"As long as I have the player I will play him, because he has always shown me commitment, seriousness and professionalism.
"Dzeko is a decisive player and he's the one who scored the most goals for my team [13 in 28 appearances this term after notching 39 last season]. The sooner the transfer market ends, the sooner we will find a Dzeko with more serenity... but for his part his availability is always the same."
Dzeko's late goal in Genoa was a particularly timely intervention given that it came when Chelsea, again without Morata after his suspension was followed by a back injury, failed to find the late leveller that would have forced an extra 30 minutes in their Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg decider against London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Conte, who afterwards said there was "no news" on the Dzeko front and reiterated his unwillingness to discuss the transfer market, started with Eden Hazard as a false nine in a 3-4-3 system in that fixture before swapping Pedro for Michy Batshuayi to no avail after Granit Xhaka's decisive second goal on the hour mark.