At some point over the last week, I began contemplating whether or not Erik Lamela's goals were masking what is actually a really poor season. Sure, the numbers are nice, and everyone loves a goal as much as a fat kid loves gluten-free cake (it's still cake), but he's a playmaker, a game-changer, and his activity is all too often passive. He's constantly waiting for the ball instead of attacking the open space, the one thing which got him those goals in the first place. Most of the time, he's kind of like any parent of any overachieving kid ever - sitting around until it's time to take the credit and glory.
And then I read the rumor about Manchester United fishing 35m out of savings for Erik and I decided he was having a fantabulous season and I was wrong just because Big Club said so. Because I'm a pansy like that.
Not really - it's both. He's been both very good and very bad, with that very good masking that very bad from time to time. And despite his goals, he was completely out of place in Zeman's system, not doing what he was asked, if he's not really the type. If he found some consistency in his runs, in his movement, he would be taking over Serie A by his lonesome. Simply put, a little more running around instead of waiting for the ball, would do wonders. (As much as it irks me to say it, the next club which hires Mourinho should attempt to nab Erik too - he'd probably be one to maximize his development.)
Now back to the original rumor: 35m for Erik.
That's a lot of money. In fact, it's probably more than Erik's currently worth, especially with all this financial fairplay nonsense upcoming, which could arguably make the rumor completely untrue. So if the offer is true, this would mean they should take it, right? Nope.
When they bought Lamela, they didn't buy a talented player - they bought someone they believed could become a cornerstone of the club, for an era. He is becoming that cornerstone, along with Marquinhos and, with the right coach, Miralem Pjanic. Despite valiant attempts at denial, Francesco will be gone in the coming years, and this club needs a superstar in his place; Erik is that superstar, as beyond anything he may do off the pitch, he is a the type of player a club needs leading it. He does not dive, he does not cheat and he treats the sport with the respect it deserves, if his temper can get the best of him from time to time when it comes to the opposition (ie The Schnoz) and people who think they're Diego @#$%ing Maradona (Scoobie Osvaldo). A certain pair of Roma captains hold similar qualities, and we brush those off often enough too when they make up for it with their play. The best thing about Erik isn't his dribbling or technique or speed, but the fact that if a defender hacks at his ankle in the box, Erik will do absolutely everything in his power to stay on his feet. They're a dying breed, the Erik Lamelas of the sport, and one with his ability is nearly priceless. Beyond a good player, he can become an icon. He can put asses in the seats, sponsors on the adboards and kiddies in his shirts for the next ten years. There is more to his pricetag than the number of goals he may or may not score.
So we'll talk at fifty.
Oh, and Barcelona wants him - 25m is their number. But then you knew that.
This is going to get annoying rather quickly.
If you haven't heard - lucky bastids - there are now questions as to whether or not Sheikh A-don't care to type it has the funds to back up his promise, or whether he's the front for something/someone else. There's an excellent piece over at Maledetta Primavera, so you should read that for the skinny. And the graph. Definitely the graph.
At current, Sheikhy has til March 14th to come up with the money. For the sake of the current ownership, he almost has to, because this club appears to be firmly in the midst of amateur hour for some time now, and they can hardly afford another PR slip-up.
You know - because otherwise people will write things on the innanet.
It's about time.
There are rumors that Roma is going after [insert name here] of [insert South American club here], hailing from [insert South American country here]. He's a [insert position here] with good attacking qualities and pace, gifted but raw, as he's only [enter age under 25 here], which puts him right in Walter Sabatini's sweet spot. He's yet to make his debut for the senior international side, and would reportedly cost [insert figure less than 10m euros here]. Given that he's a youngster playing in [insert country here], there's not much to go on but there is a [insert number over 10] minute YouTube video in which he looks very tantalizing but raw. Enjoy.
"There are rumors that Roma is going after Lucas Orban of River Plate, hailing from Argentina. He's a leftback with good attacking qualities and pace, gifted but raw, as he's only 24, which puts him right in Walter Sabatini's sweetspot. He's yet to make his debut for the senior international side, and would reportedly cost nobody knows yet, but not much. Given that he's a youngster playing in Argentina, there's not much to go on but there is an 11 minute YouTube video in which he looks very tantalizing but raw. Enjoy."
Feel free to use this template liberally.