While most of the world is undoubtedly fixated on LeBron James and his return to Cleveland, we turn our attention to a signing of a tremendously different sort, that of Urby Emanuelson. No, the 28-year-old Dutchman is not the LeBron James of fullbacks, or even reserve fullbacks for that matter, but he is Roma's latest signing, one whom they feel brings something of value to the club, so let's take a quick look, shall we?
Emanuelson, in many ways, took the typical Dutch professional path, starting off in the vaunted Ajax youth system before moving up the European ranks. The immediate returns on Emanuelson were incredibly promising, as he was named Amsterdam Talent of the Year in 2006, an award previously won by the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong and Wesley Sneijder, among others. Emanuelson was also an integral part of three Cup winning teams while at Ajax.
Emanuelson capitalized on this success by securing a €1.7M move to AC Milan in 2011. From there, Urby's career sputtered a bit, as, apart from his debut season with the club, he was never more than a bit player for the Rossoneri, and was actually sent out on loan to Fulham in 2013.
In 24 appearances last season, Emanuelson completed 84% of his passes, dished out three assists and averaged two tackles per match. Known more for his offensive skills, Emanuelson is ostensibly a left back, so expect him to serve as Ashley Cole's deputy, though he has played across the midfield in prior seasons.
While the exact financial details of this deal were not disclosed, Emanuelson's deal runs through June 30, 2015. So, for better or worse, Urby's impact will only be felt for one season.