HALLE, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 29: Sebastian Rudy (R) of Germany in action against Panagiotis Tachtsidis of Greece during the Under-21 Euro qualifier match between Germany and Greece at Erdgas Sportpark on February 29, 2012 in Halle, Germany. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Panagiotis Tachtsidis, who I will refer to from here on out as "copy and paste", joins the glut of young midfielders at Roma.
So lets get to know the newest addition a little better, plus a few words of insight from Walter Sabatini.
As one would expect, given his age and relative lack of experience, the book on Tachtsidis is relatively short. Tachtsidis began his senior career at AEK Athens, scoring 2 goals in 18 appearances. Following his spell in Athens, he was sold to Genoa in April of 2010, where he was summarily loaned to Cesena, Grosseto, and Hellas Veronas, where he made 35 appearances, scoring 2 goals in Serie B competition.
Tachtsidis is a left-footed central midfielder who so impressed Zdenek Zeman during last years Serie B campaign, that he specifically requested the young Greek player, telling Sabatini "buy this player and I'll turn him into a star." Coaches specifically requesting players is nothing new, but ZZ seems like a man of conviction, so I'll take him (and his enthusiasm for this player) at his word.
With respect to the general direction of this summers mercato, Sabatini tempered expectations a bit:
A top player? This is a term journalists often use but it's not one I wholly agree with. Who can actually say who is and who isn't a "top player"? It's very subjective. For example last season when AC Milan signed Nocerino at the end of the window, everyone thought he was a reject but then he ended up proving himself to be a top player, scoring 11 goals and performing on a par with Sneijder who - any expert will tell you - is at the top of his game. Coming back to us, I don't like talking about players who are only good on paper, it's not somewhere we want to go. It's very shaky ground, and I don't think it'd be professional to talk about top players who have spent a season warming the bench. We want to buy great players and we'll do everything we need to, in partnership with Zeman who - as I said - will not be the one to take the fall if things go wrong, but rather is helping us to build the team. We've specifically chosen Zdenek on a technical level and he's not simply a "yes man" but will be the first to build Roma. Having said that, we won't deny that his popularity helps because people love the way he approaches football. His extraordinary season with Pescara captured everyone's imagination, us included.
Its a fairly long interview, but Sabatini offers some great insight about the teams performance last year, relative to the long term goals of the "project" and how those two factors are impacting the decision making this summer. He mentions the ongoing progress with Castan and Michael Bradley, both of whom ZZ would obviously want in training ASAP, though nothing official has been announced for either player.
So, Panagoitis Tachtsidis, welcome to the fold