We're about three weeks away from opening day in Serie A, meaning Walter Sabatini has less than a month to settle his striker rotation, solidify the defense and justify Gervinho.
So with that in mind, let's dive in to the latest Roman rumors.
Well, it looks like one of the more controversial signings in recent Roma memory is about to become a reality, as Roma is reportedly set to dole out €8m to Arsenal for the services of Gervinho, a player seemingly unwanted by multiple fan bases. But it’s not the amount of the deal that should worry you, it’s the length and annual commitment--€2m per year, for four years….four years! One more time with feeling…..FOUR YEARS!
That’s an awful long commitment for a seemingly one dimensional player, and at €2m per year, he’s not exactly making minimum wage. All of which points at one thing: Rudi Garcia. Rudi must really, really believe that he can recapture whatever it was that made Gervinho so successful at Lille. In Lille’s 2010 title season alone, Gervinho had 15 goals and 10 assists—he also scored over a dozen goals the year prior—so the track record is there, the problem, of course, was that his greatest success occurred in an inferior league, while his first test against tougher competition did little to bolster the perception that Gervinho was little more than a Ligue 1 phenomenon. Over two years at Arsenal, Gervinho managed nine goals and nine assists, all of this in a league generally known to be more free flowing than Serie A. While those assists numbers are fine (relatively speaking), for the role he will presumably fill at Roma, 4.5 goals per year won't cut it.
So while this isn’t yet official, Walter Sabatini was recently spotted in London and Gervinho is already rumored to be in Boston, waiting to cross the T’s and dot the I’s on his deal before joining his new teammates in training. Gervinho may have pace for days and the requisite footwork to use up some YouTube bandwidth, but those alone won't win matches, nor will they endear him to the fanbase, particularly if he doesn't improve upon his 14% conversion rate. Say what you will about Roma’s current conjurer of controversy, Pablo Osvaldo, he does score goals, so if this move portends a PDO sale, the pressure on Gervinho will mount...fast.
We usually just report on rumors in this space, but in this instance, I'm going to create/lament one. For only $9 million dollars, less than Roma is about to pay for Gervinho, Roma could've had Clint Dempsey, a far more proven player. But, in case you haven't noticed, Roma want to make inroads in the American market. And while, depending on who you ask, Michael Bradley is a fine player, would there be a better signing to boost Roma's street cred among the casual American soccer fan than Clint Dempsey? I can't think of one.
Of course, for a player of his quality to willingly take the monumental step down from the Premiership to the MLS, there has to be an incentive, which, in this case, is cash. Lots and lots of cash--$32 million over four years to be exact. While this is obviously out of Roma's ballpark, and he was only tangentially connected to Roma at various points over the past few years, the American/Roma fan in me can't help but lament at an opportunity lost.
First of all, that photo looks familiar. But with Gareth Bale nearing a reportedly world record smashing move to Real Madrid, Franco Baldini might have some enormous funds at his disposal real soon, and one gaping hole in his lineup. All of which leads to the, you-knew-they-were-coming, rumors connecting Lamela to the North London club. But, in case you hadn't heard, folks around here consider this boy untouchable. So, Franco, no disrespect, but *%& off.
If this one is to be believed, Spurs will part with €50m for both Lamela and Pjanic, the latter only accounting for €15m of that bill. If you've followed anything we've written around here, or just followed the interconnectivity of the Roman rumor mill this summer, you know where this one is going: Lose a Pjanic, gain an Eriksen.
But, if you've seen any of Roma's summer tour, it sure looks like Garcia might be the man to make the most of Miralem Pjanic. There are a lot of interesting factors at play here, Tottenham's need for a midfielder and sudden influx of cash, Baldini's familiarity with Pjanic, Garcia's admiration for Pjanic, Roma's interminable need for funds, Eriksen's well documented Roman fandom, and Pjanic's stated desire to remain in Roma.
Stay tuned, one of these will surely give way soon.
So that's it for this Saturday's rumors, it looks like Gervinho will be a Roman player in a matter of hours, so we better get used to that and focus on what he can do and how he'll fit into Garcia rotation. With this signing the futures of Pablo Osvaldo and Marco Borriello become even cloudier, but with Mattia Destro nowhere near ready, the incentive to keep one of them is there, but which one?