The following is a review of A.S. Roma players coming and going. There are many fresh faces, and many missing faces. The deals are rated on a 1-10 scale.
Adem Ljajić: A very confusing move, not typical of Walter. For just 1.75 million euros for the loan and an option to buy for 11 million, Roma have in fact lost money on the player, and strengthen a rival. Played out of position for the entirety of his career in Rome, Adem still managed to put up strong numbers, and was a good compliment to the attack. 20% of the sale heads back to Fiorentina, meaning Roma will actually lose about 1 million euros when considering the company payed roughly 14 million for him 3 years ago. Although it is preferable that Inter has Ljajić on their wing rather than Perotti or Eder, the deal still strengthens a rival. A poor deal. 2/10.
Ashley Cole: This August 14th, it was thought that Cole terminated his contract, with a year remaining. He may have gotten word from Saba that Roma was “moving in a different direction,” and/or saw other opportunities for playing time (and cash) back in England, or in the MLS. Cole, regarded as one of the best players of his generation, never really hit it off with Roma; a victim of Arjen Robben’s opener in the 1-7 thrashing against Bayern, and a couple lost steps over the years. He will eventually terminate his contract with the club based on mutual consent. N/R
Alessio Romagnoli: “Young, future defender of Italy, filled with potential; the next captain of Roma.” Or, “overrated defender, people just love him because he is Roman. Sabatini made out like a fox; 25 million euros? Perfect.” There are two sides of the argument, but the undeniable is that Alessio is in fact a Laziale. That is just about everything when considering who the next captain will be. Alessio never showed an insatiable desire to stay, unlike DDR, Totti, and Florenzi. In my opinion, he will become a B+ player, but doesn’t have the tenacity, toughness, or athleticism to break into the top echelon. I’m grading this transfer a 9/10,
Mattia Destro: “Will you just leave already Mattia?” The common phrase heard among Romanisti. Well, he is gone now, for 1m euros on the loan and 9m obligation to buy. Bologna have a forward who can keep them afloat, Destro will have playing time ahead of the Euro 2016, but most importantly, he is off Roma’s books. 10m back to the bank, for a total loss of -6m, due to Destro’s initial transfer fee of 16m when Roma purchased him from Genoa. Not entirely Sabatini’s fault, as most expected Destro to keep growing, rather than regress. 7/10.
Jose Holebas: Bought for 1.5m euros, and sold for 2.75m. A transfer which Jose seemingly knew nothing about until he was sold, this was a confusing one; why sell a cheap option, that covers depth? I don’t understand this one, other than Saba not looking to waste time, and would rather get someone younger in and start his growth process at Roma. A strange transfer, but the replacing him with an unproven wingback in Emerson does not further the depth strength. 5/10,
Seydou Doumbia: A loan back to CSKA Moscow, then a transfer to China for exactly what Roma paid for him. A rushed transfer in January, Seydou struggled to find form, and seemed a shadow of his former self. A hole Sabatini dug himself into, which he miraculously climbed out of. Thank heavens for that Chinese money. Would be a 10/10, but Sabatini dug himself into this one; 8/10.
Gianluca Curci: He has transferred to Mainz. It was thought he could’ve been kept around for the homegrown quota, but oh well. Nothing taken, nothing lost. N/A.
Federico Viviani: 4m euros saw Fede transferred to Hellas Verona. Another Romanista many thought would break into the squad and be De Rossi’s heir, has become just another pawn for the club. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Vivani evolved from a defensive midfielder into a more true center midfielder, and for that, Roma is just too well-equipped. To say that Viviani is better than Salih Ucan would be false, and although he could have played a role in the club for the future, Roma will continue to point to higher quality players. A modest fee for a player without a true season in Serie A, and an excess for Roma. A deal with minimal effect. 5/10.
Andrea Bertolacci: Now this one, this one stung. The only thing that took the venom out of this deal was the 20m euros A.C. Milan paid for him. He came off a fantastic season for Genoa, and a great few years with them; many thought he would become Miralem’s replacement, others like me thought he would become a great player to add into the quality of the midfield, and contend with Miralem for the creator spot. Sabatini though, chose the cash, allocating the cash where it was needed more. Just for the record, Andrea is a life-long A.C. Milan fan. 8/10.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa: Mapou would typically play a great match, marred by a blunder or two. This lapse of concentration is what made Sabatini accept his transfer to Lyon. The derby hero was sold for 9.5m euros, with Roma making 1.5m off the deal, after the 8m euro obligatory purchase. 7/10.
Iago Falque: Roma’s earliest acquisition of the mercato surprised most, but in truth, Iago will be a good purchase. The Spaniard has been a vagabond during his career, at Barcelona, Madrid, Tottenham, and Genoa. Still just 25, he will enter his prime in Rome and could be our Lavezzi. Clinical, sufficient at supplying the forward, and quick around the box, Iago will surprise many this season. 8/10.
Radja Nainggolan: There was a rush of anxiety throughout this deal, as Cagliari pressed Roma against the fence, and Juve were poking their heads in. As co-ownership ended, Roma needed to make a move, and finalized for 9m euros. N/A.
Victor Ibarbo: A loan to Watford, considered surplus to the bench. Roma will have option to buy him at season’s end, and could make a profit if they were to flip. N/A.
Mohamed Salah: A wild deal, full of legal discrepancy between Chelsea, Fiorentina, and Salah. Inter entered the frame in July, then being accused of an illegal approach by Fiorentina’s management. Fiorentina was probably correct in that matter. The legal issues will continue between Chelsea and Fiorentina, but Mo is a Roma player. A loan of 5m euros, with option to buy for a further 17m, this is the winger Roma has so sorely needed; dynamic, relentless, creative, and acute. 8/10.
Edin Džeko: 4m for the loan, 11m euros to exercise the option to buy. In his first match at Roma’s Opening Day v. Sevilla, he scored in the third minute. He opened his Serie A account in the massive win over Juve in front of the Curva Sud, with what would become the winning goal. A rockstar, for a rockstar deal and price. 10/10.
Antonio Rüdiger: The young German international is regarded as one of the top centerback prospects, yet is coming off a serious knee injury. The 11m euros could go two ways: Antonio becomes the next big thing and regains his fitness, or has a career plagued by injuries, debilitating his success. A gamble Saba felt worth taking. 7/10.
Lucas Digne: At 17 years of age, Lucas was given a starting place in Rudi Garcia’s championship winning Lille side. With the young man now rejoining his mentor, Lucas could develop into a premier leftback. One of the world’s hottest LB prospects when joining PSG, his value slipped due to inconsistent playing time behind Maxwell. Roma will pay 2.5 million euros for the loan, and will have the option to purchase him at season’s end, for a fee believed to be about 11 million euros. A fantastic start in the win over Juve immediately made him a fan favorite. 10/10.
Norbert Gyömbér: A mystery really, I would be lying if I said I knew lots about him. However, the 23 year old is a Slovakian international. Saba believes he will be a good choice for 4th CB, and I suppose all we can really do is trust him. There aren’t any Youtube videos on him either, so I can’t pretend like I know what I’m talking about here. N/A.
William Vainqueur: Arriving from Dynamo Moscow, the former French-U21 international was one of the most dominating midfielders in the Belgian League. 26 years old, he will be entering his prime, and should make decent depth while Kevin Strootman attempts to retake the field some time in the latter half of the season. He had an 88% pass completion rate last season in Russia, and we will surely see him take the field for the Coppa, and in substitution roles. We were expecting someone a bit more renowned, but it seems Rudi Garcia had his eye on the Frenchman. 6/10.
Wojciech Szczesny: The man who saved the match against Juventus, the Polish Jungle Cat. No one may call him that, but it doesn’t hurt trying to start a trend. A rating for the top-notch goalie cannot be justified because figures for the deal were not made public. It is not even clear if whether or not there is an option to buy Szczesny. N/A.
Ezequiel Ponce: 4.2 million euros for the services of the youngest player to score a goal in the Argentinian top flight. On a 5 year contract, Ponce is just 18 years old and is renowned as one of the world’s best attacking talents. Still raw to the highest leagues of Europe, we will not know what to expect until further review. N/A.
Once more info is released, ratings could be adjusted. But as of September 1st, 2015, this mercato gets a 7.