It appears as though Roma director Mauro Baldissoni was true to his word, hinting that the club had one more purchase up their sleeve, one that may even be announced this afternoon in Boston. Well, if the word on the streets of Bean Town is true, Roma may have hijacked yet another move, stealing Davide Astori from underneath Lazio's nose on a €2m loan.
As recently as yesterday, it seemed that Astori was bound for the wrong side of the city on an apparent €7m transfer. However, Calgiari duly informed Lazio that they were no longer interested in conducting business, and that they were now actually working on a three year extension with the defender.
Well, guess what? Multiple sources are now reporting that the extension may have been conjured up with a move to Roma in mind all along. Sky Sports, Football Italia and Romanews (though Sky appears to be the primary source) are indicating that Roma will take on Astori via a €2m loan with a €6m option to buy at season's end.
Truth of the matter, when you're stealing from Lazio's dinner plate, cost is immaterial. Sabatini gets bonus points on this one regardless of the final figures.
Astori, 27-years-old, made 34 starts for Cagliari last season, during which he averaged 1.8 tackles, 2.9 interceptions and 8.4 clearances per match, the latter of which was second in the league. Offensively speaking, Astori averaged over 50 passes per match, completing 84% of his passes, averaging 6.1 long balls per match and tallying two assists. Anyway you slice it, Astori is a solid defender, one comfortable with the ball at his feet.
We'll analyze this move in greater depth in the coming days, but the most immediate question is this: is Astori a reinforcement or a replacement? He's a welcome and effective addition in either role, but given the tumult surrounding Mehdi Benatia, it's a question worth asking at this point.
In any event...all hail, Walter Sabatini.
That glorious bastard did it again. Not only has he reportedly captured one of Serie A's best defenders completely under the radar for a mere €8m, he did so at the expense of Lazio.
It just doesn't get much better than that, does it?