Will there be an exodus of wingers, in just the last couple days of 2015’s summer mercato? It is starting to seem so, or that at least half of the wingers between Adem Ljajić, Juan Iturbe, Victor Ibarbo, and Gervinho will either be sold or loaned. It is a matter of one (or two, or three) too many wingers on the squad and payroll, and a desire for those lower in Garcia’s pecking order find somewhere to do exactly what they are paid for: Playing calcio.
Will it be Adem Ljajić? I sure hope not. Below this article are various reasons on why Nutella Boy shouldn’t be sold, and exactly how he could fit into Garcia’s attack (if he ever planned to adjust anything, ever so slightly). With Aston Villa wanting him on a loan, the deal seems unlikely. In the case of any sale, 20% of his transfer fee will automatically head to Fiorentina as per his contract. I would understand him if he left, but he should continue as a part of Roma.
How about Juan Manuel Iturbe? The player Sabatini spent about 27 million euros on, after his exponential season with Hellas Verona. After such a season where the young Argentine scored 8 goals and 4 assists in 29 starts for the gialloblu, he earned just 17 starts for the giallorossi; the 2 goals and 1 assist are nothing to celebrate. For such a major investment, Sabatini may try and salvage his pride and see if his prodigy will develop into a top star. On the other hand, he may swallow his pride, and cut his losses while there is such an opportunity. Genoa have claimed to be “trying to convince Juan to come,” and rumors from Di Marzio state that Benfica, Everton, and other major clubs have been showing serious interest. One of last May’s derby heroes could be out the door, but it is too early in his career to tell if Roma will be making a mistake in letting him go. A proper reinvestment through his sale could make the most sense here. ”
Juan Iturbe AS Roma (cropped)” by Paul Rudderow- Jersey Shooter from USA – 7- Juan Iturbe. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.
Colombian international Victor Ibarbo is a unique case, in that Roma do not own him. Rome now pays 5(bonuses include up to 6) million euros on top of the 2.5 million loan fee of last season, for a whopping 7.5 million in loan fees. There is the option for Roma to buy him for 8 million at the conclusion of this season, which will most likely be exercised for either making a profit on him in the mercato or keeping him for the first squad. As of right now, it seems the first option is more likely. Victor adds great great control of match pace, endurance, and fleeting feet down the wing, but his points tally is woeful. However, he is the optimal winger for preserving a lead, and he would be a valuable asset throughout the season. On the other hand, Alessandro Florenzi also adds many of these characteristics, and Victor may never be more than surplus. This one is a tough call, but I believe Victor will make the call to leave, in order to reach a team where he is a sure starter.
Gervinho. No helicopters, no private beaches, and no stowaway girlfriends. At least, not yet for the Ivorian. One of Roma’s most dangerous, if not most dangerous player in the first week’s matchup against Hellas, Gervi lit up the peninsula in his first season in Rome, yet his feet went cold in 2014/15. Partly due to being an AFCON champion, and partly due to Roma’s overall poor playing, Gervinho suffered during the championship. With Salah on the right and Dzeko in the middle, Gervinho will mostly be without his link-up buddy in Francesco Totti. If the two are played in tandem, I have no doubt in Gervinho’s effectiveness. However, when paired on the wing with Salah, Roma misses a creator, as both players have a similar style in trying to take on the defender and go to goal. Two wingers of this style is one too many, and it is most likely that they will not learn to functionally co-exist. Gervinho is at the prime in his career, and I have no doubt he can be a useful asset throughout the season. Yet, if the offer of Abu Dhabi’s riches comes back around, Sabatini may accept a cool 15 million euros, and Gervi might take that major paycheck.
He is seen here below, contemplating such issue. Reach out to me @asromainenglish, comment below, and let me know who you think is moving on, and/or facing the Sabatini axe.