Miralem Pjanic doesn't like classical music. But it didn't stop the Italian media comparing him to the conductor of an orchestra after Roma steam-rollered through their first eight league matches of the Serie A season.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has been influential in Rudi Garcia's impressive work at the Stadio Olimpico, as Roma prepare for the city derby with Lazio on Sunday. An article written by ESPNFC’s AS Roma blogger Julian De Martinis highlighted Pjanic’s importance to Roma early in the season, averaging 53 percent shot accuracy, 88 percent pass accuracy and winning 55 percent, according to Squawka's statistics.
With transfer rumour season in overdrive this past January, the Bosnian midfielder was linked strongly with possible moves to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. Roma made it made clear in no uncertain terms, the player wasn't for sale, and so, Pjanic hasn't been unsettled by questions of his long-term future in Roma.
"The rumour didn't disturb me." Pjanic told ESPNFC. "I was well aware of it [Manchester United's reported interest], but the club had always said I wasn't for sale. I just keep focusing on my best and as I said last week, if someone leaves, there is an agreement between all parties in the transfer window. I'm happy here, so I'll keep trying to do my best.
Pjanic added, "It’s a very important year, for me, for Roma and the national team at the World Cup. That's my focus right now."
While the 23-year-old has fallen out of the team in recent weeks, largely down to the recruitment and stable performances of Radji Nainggolan, he still managed to influence the game from the bench in their recent 1-0 Coppa Italia victory over Juventus.
The key area for Garcia's side -- according to Pjanic -- is the balance and structure of the three-man midfield which normally comprises of former PSV man Kevin Strootman, an impressive performer since arriving in Italy; Daniele de Rossi and Belgian Nainggolan, who joined from Cagliari.
The Bosnian explained: "The midfield is very important to our system. We have to dictate the tempo, decide when to attack and when to defend at which speed.
"We usually play a three midfield and have good balance. It is working fine at the moment. The trainer gives me the freedom to move and create around the pitch in certain circumstances. He knows my strengths, so I find that very comfortable.
“The trainer tries to transmit his philosophy on the pitch and they sign the players who can best put those ideas on the pitch. I’ve had two good trainers here and both place importance on to the midfield.”
Perhaps, with even greater importance, is Roma’s head coach and trainer, Garcia. He arrived with a strong reputation from his time in French Football, where he was able to track and study the performances of Pjanic in his days at Metz and Lyon.
The former Lille trainer was made at home by several French speakers in the Roma dressing room -- Mehdi Benatia, Gervinho, Pjanic, to name a few -- and while Pjanic recognises its importance, the midfielder is equally impressed by Garcia's management and close relationship with him and the rest of the squad.
"I have a very good professional relationship." Pjanic said. "He's the new coach to the club and doing really well. He brought a new mentality, a winning one, obviously, and we all appreciate his efforts.
"The language certainly helps, but we knew each other for a long time. He knew who I was from then and we had a very fruitful talk during the summer camp. He's good personally, but I appreciate his philosophy, also."
Pjanic fell to his knees and cried after Bosnia secured their first-ever qualification for the FIFA World Cup with a victory in Lithuania. He's proud to represent the nation of his birth and believes the side -- containing the likes of Manchester City ace Edin Dzeko and Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic -- will win the hearts of his home country.
"It's a dream come true and I'm very happy to play," he insisted. "It's the first time for our nation and we're all very motivated. It'll be a great tournament and it’s a pleasure to be there.
"Our objective is to go through the Group Stages and a leave a very positive image of our country."