We're still several weeks away from the winter silly season, but the latest rumor to burst forth from the well of the 24-hour news cycle is simply too controversial to not to discuss. Word broke today that Roma are interested in Juventus wingback and former Lazio goon, Stephen Lichtsteiner, whose contract negotiations with the Old Lady have reportedly hit a snag, with a mere €500,000 dividing the Swiss international and the three-time reigning Serie A champions from continuing their marriage.
So, other than me being forced to remember the vowel sequence in his last name, why is this a bad idea? Is it a good idea? A mortal sin?
First things first, the obvious 800lb gorilla...err, goat in the room. Not only was Lichtsteiner a former Lazio player, he was generally one of the most detestable to ever don that sky blue monstrosity. And yes, players have bridged this gap before, but never one as divisive as Lichtsteiner. There's always a gray area in football, particularly in terms of personnel, but would Walter Sabatini be crazy enough to attempt this? Would James Pallotta be foolhardy enough to give it the okay?
But, and there's always a but, he is a hell of a player...believe it or not. Last season, his third in Turin, was a particularly strong one, as Lichtsteiner scored two goals and contributed eight assists in 27 appearances. Through 11 league matches this season, he appears set to eclipse both those marks as he's already notched two goals and dished out four assists, all while averaging one key pass per match, more than he's ever averaged during his Juve days in league play. He's a versatile offensive player and, come on, a pain in the ass to opponents, plus he'd fit in with Garcia's scheme like a glove, so this rumor does make some objective sense.
Am I advocating this? Of course not, but to simply dismiss it out of hand is to ignore a player capable of at least sealing over the crack in Roma's perpetual need for help on the flanks.
But, with only five hundred grand separating the two sides, odds are Juventus and Lichtsteiner will patch things up.
Plus, you gotta have some big ole brass ones and a hell of a PR department to pull this move off successfully.