Why Roma Should Want Cyril Théréau

Marco Luzzani

Sabatini's shopping season is right around the corner. With that in mind, let's start off CdT's Winter Wishlist with a more subdued suggestion, Chievo's Cyril Théréau. While he may lack acclaim, Théréau's skill set would give Roma much needed depth.

If you're anything like me, when you play FIFA, you play as Roma. And, if you're even more like me, you try and keep the transfers somewhat realistic, at least at first. In our universe, that means keeping things meager. Sure, you could figure out some way to finagle Neymar to Roma for a few million Euros, 50% of Gianluca Caprari, and a pair of autographed Rodrigo Taddei shorts, but that's not terribly realistic, is it?

No, in order to fully replicate the Roman experience in the digital realm, you need to keep those purse strings tight, you can't compete with make believe oil barons, your psychosis and self-loathing still exist in this virtual world. Roma is second class, even on a Sony.

With that bit of digital psychoanalysis out of the way, I present to you the first of what may or may not become a series, Winter Wishlist 2014, wherein I (or we) present some selected targets we'd pursue if we graced Walter Sabatini's shoes.

For my first selection, I'm going to stick within the realm of reality. I'm aiming for age, for experience, for depth and I'm going French.

So, say bonjour to...

Cyril Théréau

CV de Cyril

Théréau, 30, is a 6'2'' attacking midfielder/forward who didn't make his pro debut until age 21. In the ensuing decade, he's played for luminaries such as Orleans, Angers (this is their logo), Chaleroi and Anderlecht before finally finding a home in Chievo.

Given that less than stellar nomadic background, you won't be shocked to learn that he's never won any honors, team or otherwise, and he's never been capped for Les Bleus. Plus, his haircut makes him look like one of these dinosaurs. And this is (or was) his website, it's kind of depressing.

So why, then, do I want him in Roma?

Théréau Takes His Time

While Théréau showed some early flashes, particularly during his brief tenure at Steaua Bucharest, calling him a late bloomer wouldn't necessarily be a misnomer, or even an insult. Since becoming a Flying Donkey in 2010, Théréau has displayed that unique blend of scoring and creating that all teams crave, propelling him to the forefront of all things Chievo.

By leading Chievo in goals, assists, key passes, dribbles and crosses last season, Théréau ensured that the Chievo offense would not exist in his absence. He was, for all intents and purposes, their Francesco Totti. To top it all off, he was remarkably durable last season, making 37 appearances and logging over 3,000 minutes.

What, Where, When and How?

Although he took his time to arrive, Théréau has managed to stitch together quite a respectable resume since arriving in Chievo, proving himself to be a remarkably well equipped offensive player, one who contributes in all facets of an attack. And therein lies the prime reason why a Théréau-to-Roma move makes so much sense.

While he's struggled to a certain extent this season, if Roma's recent spate of injuries in the attack hasn't proven it, beyond Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic, the club is a bit pale in terms of players who can create and score. One needn't look any further than last season to see how Théréau excelled in each of these areas, and how, in a reserve role, he'd be an excellent addition to this current squad.

Cyril Théréau in 2012-2013

Théréau may be nominally listed as a forward, but his passing statistics last season proved his playmaking wasn't limited to the confines of the 18-yard box. Indeed, over 30% of his chances created came from beyond 20-yards, indicating he has the ability to drop back and create from a deeper position. Not Pirlo deep, mind you, but you get the picture; Théréau isn't completely useless outside of the penalty area. In addition to leading the club in the basic counting stats (goals and assists), Théréau's 1.2 accurate crosses per match paced Chievo, and would have placed him second only to Totti last season (crossing is not Roma's strong suit, you may have noticed). Throw in his dribbling ability and pace, and you can see why Théréau is a threat virtually everywhere on the pitch.

While that's all well and good, we all know that the closer you are to the goal mouth, the more likely you are to score. To wit, 10 of Théréau's 11 goals last season came within the 18-yard box. Drilling this number down even further, half of those came within the range of the goal posts; that is to say, dead center, the area in which a player is most likely to score. What we can draw from this is simply that Théréau, either through his own initiative or within broader tactical movements, knows how to put himself into scoring position.

Now that we know what Théréau is capable of, how exactly would Garcia fit his countrymen into his rotation?

Before we answer that, it's important to note that, given his age and his career trajectory, this discussion assumes that Théréau would accept a lesser role at a larger club. Being past age 30, one can presume Théréau's prima donna days, if they ever existed, are well behind him, and that latching onto a title-contending team would appeal to him.

With that in mind, the options are limitless. Being both taller, more massive (relatively) and quicker than Marco Borriello, Théréau could easily slot into the reserve center forward role and the Roman offense wouldn't miss a step, in fact, one could argue it would be better off given Théréau's superior athleticism and more diverse skill set. Similarly, Théréau could slot on either side of Totti, joining the forward rotation with Adem Ljajic, Alessandro Florenzi and Gervinho. Théréau's passing ability, particularly his fondness for the two-man game, and his surprisingly strong tackling ability, wouldn't leave Roma's middle third completely vulnerable should Garcia press him into service as a midfielder either.

Putting a Price on It

While I spoke somewhat glowingly about Théréau throughout this piece, he is not without his flaws; after all, there is probably a reason he's never featured for a larger club. But he is a talented player nonetheless, one with Serie A experience and one who has a few good years left in him, so what's the going rate for a player like that?

Most estimates would put Théréau's price tag in the neighborhood of €2.5m to €3m, or slightly less than Roma doled out to Chievo for Michael Bradley. However, with Théréau on the wrong side of 30 and having a down season, Roma might be able to put the screws to Chievo and reach for the lower end of that spectrum. As far as wages are concerned, Théréau's €300,000 salary means he makes more than only Alessio Romagnoli and Gianluca Caprari on Roma's current roster; even with a somewhat modest raise, Roma could certainly stomach adding Théréau's salary to the rolls.

Will it Happen?

Let's judge this prospective move one through ten style.

  • Tactical Sense: 8.5
    • ditching Borriello would make more immediate room, but he's got the ability to fit in several positions
  • Financial Sense: 10
    • At most, he'd cost €3m, with wages fit for young un
  • Chemistry: 7
    • He speaks French, so he's a natural fit with Garcia in that sense, and he has no reputation that precedes him, while at age 30, he may jump at the chance to play for a competing team.
  • Probability: 5
    • While, for the reasons stated throughout here, this move makes sense, there may be areas in more dire need of upgrade than forward. Furthermore, with Borriello on the books for another season at quite a hefty clip, whatever room they may find in their self-imposed salary cap may ultimately be applied to the defense. Besides, beyond the column space I just devoted to it, there's been precious little mention of Théréau leaving Chievo at all, much less for Roma.

So, there you have it, our first foray into 2014's Winter Wishlist. He may not be a superstar, but Cyril Théréau's skill set would be a huge boost to a bench currently bereft of dynamic attacking talent, all at an extremely reasonable cost to boot.

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