Walter Sabatini's genius notwithstanding, sometimes things in Italy just don't...uh...work as quickly as one would hope. Roma's purported hijacking of Davide Astori from the clutches of Lazio has fallen into speculation as quickly as it rose to prominence yesterday evening. Rather than being whisked away by Walter Sabatini, Cagliari and Astori have decided to take a collective break for a few days, where Astori will presumably attempt to reach some sort of earthly Nirvana to help him along this journey.
Cagliari director Francesco Marroccu has thrown a bucket of cold water on our collective hopes in an interview with Lazionews saying "Today will not be decisive...In agreement with the player we will take a few days to reflect, beyond the outcome of the meeting that will be held today at the Lega offices"
From a club standpoint, the muddying of the waters makes little sense. Unless Cagliari is attempting to wring every last dollar/euro out of Lazio, this stalling tactic makes little sense. While Roma's reported deal would delay the payments a year, Cagliari stood to make more from the Giallorossi's offer than Lazio's, eight million to seven million.
So, unless Claudio Lotito and Lazio have suddenly upped their offer, I can't imagine Cagliari has much to ruminate upon. There is, of course, the chance they are using Lazio as a pawn to coerce a few million extra from Roma's pockets. Astori is arguably their biggest asset, so you can't really blame them for playing both sides, but last night it sure seemed like Roma had trumped Lazio's offer. But, you know, business in Italy seldom makes sense.
For Astori's part, the decision isn't quite as simple as it may seem. Yes, Roma offers a better project, better supporting cast, better kits, better off-season tours and, of course, Champions League football. However, as it currently stands, Astori would merely be a third choice centerback for Roma; one who would surely find minutes, but one who would remain firmly planted behind Mehdi Benatia and Leandro Castan.
At 27-years-old, and with only a handful of international caps to his name, you can bet that Astori has his eyes firmly fixed on Euro 2016. With Italy's incumbent trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli losing some of their shine in Brazil, the door might be wide open for Astori to finally make his mark with the Azzurri.
The question you have to ask, and one Astori is surely pondering himself, is how does one best prepare themselves for a place in the Azzurri? Does he stand to benefit from regular minutes at smaller club, or would the scattered minutes at a Champions League club sharpen his edges ahead of Euro 2016?
While we all assume joining Roma would be a no-brainer, this is a monumental decision for Astori. At 27-years-old, this is really his last chance to cash in before his prime years are used up. So, not only does this figure to be the most lucrative contract of his career, but this may be his last best chance at glory. A place in the national team is ripe for the taking and Astori will never be better than he is now, so the role he assumes on his next club is paramount.
But, I mean...come on, Davide. Do the right thing.