While yesterday's news understandably dealt with Roma's substantial investment in the future, today we shift the focus to an underperforming asset, one which has yielded the club next to nothing over the past 36 months, Marco Borriello. Since coming to the club in 2010, Borriello has jetted between Roma, Juventus and Genoa, with a brief layover in West Ham thrown in for good measure. To call Borriello's Roma career unusual would be an understatement. In fact, in the two plus years since our transformation to CdT, we've alternatively welcomed and wished Borriello safe travels more times than I care to recall.
Because of his frequent travels, we tend to overlook one simple fact: Marco Borriello remains a Roma player, one with a €5.4m salary to boot. But, in this his final season on the books, might Roma finally extract some value from their #88?
Before we attempt to answer that question, let's first talk about what role he'd fill on a club suddenly spending like sailor on shore leave.
While Walter Sabatini has addressed Roma's wings with gusto this summer, one look at the roster reveals a bald patch in desperate need of a comb over; depth at center forward. While Mattia Destro proved to be one of Serie A's most effective scorers last year, he is but one man, and as we saw on several occasions last season, when Destro is removed from the equation, Roma's offense becomes far too reliant on creating from the wings. Without Destro, there is simply no threat in the center of the park, a matter made worse when Francesco Totti is also absent.
With three competitions ahead of them this season, each carrying their own significance and rewards, one of Rudi Garcia's main charges will be keeping Totti and Destro--players who each missed significant time last season--fresh, rested and effective.
Enter Marco Borriello.
While he is a different sort of threat than either Destro or Totti, the most recent data suggests he is nearly as effective as he ever was, providing enough of a punch to warrant minutes behind Roma's more famous faces.
In what was his last full Serie A campaign, 2012-2013 saw a pretty efficient and effective Marco Borriello. In 28 appearances for Genoa that season, Borriello scored 12 goals (tied for sixth in the league), while managing to put 62% of his shots on target, which was actually sixth among all Serie A forwards. Throw in his 29 chances created, which was second on Genoa that season, and Borriello nearly...nearly earned his €5.4 million paycheck, and was certainly more effective than most people (myself included) gave him credit.
But let's get back to the goals for a second. Borriello's 12 goals that season came across 28 appearances, good for 0.43 goals per match, which, though not quite at his goal-every-other-match level from his Milan days, was still ninth among all forwards that season. When viewed through the per 90 minute lens, Borriello averaged 0.46 goals per 90, good for 18th in the league. While that's a far sight from Destro's absurd 0.95 per 90 this past season, it was marginally better than his (meaning Borriello) career mark of 0.43 goals per 90.
Though he is somewhat maligned and overlooked, Marco Borriello's most recent performances indicate that he might still have some value as a reserve forward, making him an ideal candidate to fill this gap in Garcia's rotation; to be the guy to do the dirty work and grab those tough goals in the dead of winter that often mean the difference between one and three points.
It may not have been as glamorous or as prolific as either party had hoped, but there is still a chance to rewrite Marco Borriello's legacy with Roma.