Well its not every day that Roma is linked with a young starlet plying his trade in lands far, far away. Ok, maybe it is more or less everyday. But this time it is different!
Daniel De Silva is a seventeen year old from Western Australia, the sparsely populated and mysterious western portion of our rather unusual continent. A place better known for man-eating sharks, massive natural gas deposits and it’s vicinity to the missing flight MH-370.
It is also home to the oddly named Perth Glory, a mediocre A-League side that was recently tricked into employing Robbie Fowler and William Gallas as footballers. Whilst the CEO (we don’t do Presidents for some reason) is remaining tight lipped on which European side they have reached an agreement with for their young playmaker, the cat has been out of the bag on this one for some time. Word is that the deal is tipping at $2.5 million including loan and re-sale options. A price that would be more or less double the current record for a transfer in Australian football.
According to multiple sources in the Australian media, De Silva has agreed to personal terms with Roma and it is just a matter of time and Sabatini cigarette stubs before he becomes the newest Romanista.
The deal has been struck thanks to some behind the scenes work by Italian football ‘consultant’ Vincenzo Grella, the former Socceroo and Serie A (Empoli, Parma, Torino) midfielder best known for removing some flesh from the shin of Ronaldo during Brazil’s 2-0 defeat of Australia in the 2006 World Cup.
The tender age of the adolescent in question, however, does muddy the waters of this deal somewhat. Due to FIFA regulations and the geographical isolation of
De Silva’s home town, Roma will have to loan him back to his old club until he turns 18 in March next year.
This is a good idea. Just ask those number crunchers at Barcelona.
It is also much too early to speculate on whether Rudi will throw him onto the panchina next to Ricci and co or give him a couple of months with the youth squad to acclimatise.
De Silva will become just the eighth Australian to join a Serie A club, following in the footsteps of the much respected and aforementioned Vinnie Grella, Marco Bresciano (Parma, Palermo, Lazio), Zeljko Kalac (AC Milan, Perugia) and Paolo Okon (Fiorentina, Lazio).
He will also be Roma’s first ever Australian signing.
So as you can probably appreciate this is a pretty big deal for your humble scribe and a significant portion of the Southern Hemisphere CDT readership. I also feel the need to point out that with this year’s addition of Radja Nainggolan and the departure of Michael Bradley from Trigoria, the Roma representative board of the Chiesa Di Totti authors shall read: Belgium 1, Australia 1, USA 0.
Feel the burn, Bren!!! Feel the burn!!!
So who the hell is this kid and why did Walter and Rudi feel the need to get involved in literally the furthest patch of earth away from Roma they could find?
De Silva has been turning heads since he made his international debut for the Young Socceroos (imagine my disappointment when I found out only the Under-17 team is called the Joeys) in the 2013 Under-20 Youth World Cup.
At the tender age of 16, De Silva scored the opening goal and was named man of the match in Australia’s 1-1 draw with Colombia.
Did I mention he made his professional debut for Perth Glory at 15?
Our man has long been under the scrutiny of talent scouts from across Europe and it has always been a matter of when he would be signed by a top flight side.
An early move to Everton when he was 16 seemed likely but was scuppered due to visa issues.
Following his remarkable 2013 tournament both Catania and Cagliari made serious offers for the midfielder’s services but were quickly rebuffed by his parents. English clubs including Manchester United were also understood to be sniffing about for the Western Australian’s availability.
It was around this time that the idiotic Perth Glory coach announced the only way De Silva would be leaving the club was if Barcelona signed him (we must now assume, illegally).
It was therefore only logical that De Silva was soon inundated with the title of the next Harry Kewel, Australia’s favourite footballing export (who oddly enough was linked with Roma back in 2008 – cheers Bren).
Check out the compulsory highlight clips.
The kid is a natural playmaker with a gifted touch and an impressive array of passing. Whilst it is of course far too early to speculate on how he would be employed in the Roma system, he appears suitable for a Pjanic like role feeding the runs of advanced teammates while possessing the capability to move forward and score. It certainly will not hurt having a mentor by the name of Francesco Totti, hanging around the place.
So with so many potential suitors, why did De Silva end up choosing Roma?
We all know by now that Sabatini is a smooth operator when it comes to the acquisition of young gems from abroad, but the spectacular rise of 2013/14 Roma and the virtual guarantee of Champions League football, has also played a large role. Put simply, success breeds success.
The arrival of serious quality players like Kevin Strootman, Mattia Destro, Mehdi Benatia and Nainggolan has given Roma a sharper edge in the football scouting world. The American money that has flowed from Pallotta and Co has also contributed in Roma making bold claims of its ambition for Italian and European dominance.
And then of course, there is Rudi. Garcia’s greatest claim to fame, prior to calling Curva Sud protesters Lazio fans in the preseason, was nurturing the exquisite talent of Eden Hazard.
Now of course, I’m not saying the kid from Perth is on track for reaching such a level, but it was sure to have played a role in convincing De Silva’s entourage their boy was heading to safe hands.
So without further adieu, welcome to the payroll Daniel. We look forward to catching up with you when you are legal. It’s going to be a hell of an 18th.