While we await Roma's trip to Torino we'll take on a transfer rumor, though flimsily sourced, has enough creedence to make it worth discussing. We're talking, of course, about the potentially terrific but perpetually disappointing Juan Iturbe. We won't rehash the whole saga and historical significance of his transfer, but suffice it to say, Manu hasn't even come close to living up to his €22 million price tag. Through a combination of injuries, an inability to adapt to a larger club and different tactics and, above all else, lousy play, Iturbe has been a massive disappointment during his first 18 months or so in the Eternal City.
Given Roma's glut of wingers and the simple desire to recoup some portion of that twenty two mil, Iturbe has been the subject of intense transfer rumors for much of 2015. Iturbe, you may recall, was nearly a Genoa player this past summer, giving his consent to join the Grifone on a season long loan with an option to buy, believed to be in the neighborhood of €20 million, which, from a Roma perspective, is probably about the best they can hope to do at this point, given his lack of results.
That transfer never came to fruition of course, as Walter Sabatini pulled the plug on the move at the last second, earning the ire of Genoa President Enrico Preziosi in the process. Presumably Sabatini was, like many of us, convinced that this would be the year for Iturbe. With one season in the limelight under his belt, disappointing though it was, Manu was ready to put the growing pains behind him and start living up to that enormous billing.
Through the season's first 14 weeks, those dreams remain unfulfilled and Iturbe finds his name on the transfer block once more. Football Italia has picked up on a Goal.com report (don't shoot the messenger) that suggests Sassuolo and Bologna are keen to take on Iturbe next month, presumably on loan. However, Calciomercato warns don't count out Genoa, who are apparently fans of overhyped wingers and mentally abusive relationships.
While the source of these rumors are a bit dodgy, we have every reason to believe Roma will shop Iturbe this summer. First and foremost, there is the cost—it's becoming readily apparent that Iturbe will never be anything more than a sunk cost—and while he can be a valuable member of the rotation, there are better and cheaper options to fill that role. Then there's the simple fact of the matter: he just hasn't been that good.
Despite ample reasons to give Iturbe the boot, this remains a tenuous situation in every respect. All of Iturbe's suitors are well aware of Roma's motivations to sell, but they've simply sunk too much into the kid to give him away for free, and he's still, like it or not, too young to give up on.
As the weeks and months roll on, it's starting to look as if Roma didn't really think this one through. They simply saw a chance to usurp Juventus on the transfer market, stealing headlines and hearts in the process, without really asking themselves, not only where he'd fit in the squad, but if he was ready for such a move.
The worst part is, Iturbe, who is by all accounts a good kid and hard worker, has become an unwitting victim in all of this. At this point, moving him is probably in the best interest of all parties involved.