Some days you just wake up and everything seems right. The sun is shining, your orange juice is chilled to perfection and the bagel shop hasn't run out of cinnamon raisin yet. Today was not one of those days, however, for I have the incredible misfortune of dealing with one of life's greatest mysteries, the summer cold. However, as the morning haze soon gave way to the midday sun, my spirits have been lifted, for the transfer I prophesized and hoped for lo those many years ago may actually come true, Davide Santon may yet be a Roma player.
Seemingly upset at Inter Milan for attempting to send him back to England after only six months, and to newly promoted Watford at that, Santon is reportedly receptive to a Roman move, despite his previous pledges of fealty to Inter, the club of his youth. I suppose it's somewhat fitting that this rumor hinges upon Watford and someone like Jose Cholebas (who Watford is seeking as an alternative to Santon), because, let's face it, as much as I've always wanted Santon to come to Rome, his star has faded a bit, why else would he be faced with the prospect of going to Watford in the first place?
Nevertheless, there is always a ‘but' and always a reason to take a risk like this; Santon is young enough and cheap enough to make this a steal. Still just 24-years-old, Santon is coming off a relatively solid stint of football, turning in 40 appearances for Newcastle and Inter over the past year-and-a-half, including a solid run in the Europa League.
During his six month stint for the Nerazzurri, Santon averaged over two interceptions per match, ranking third on the club over that span, and completed nearly 91% of his passes while averaging 1.2 key passes per match, which was first among Inter defenders who had played over 500 minutes during 2015. Furthermore, when we compare Santon to Roma's nominal fullbacks from this past season—Alessandro Florenzi, Jose Cholebas, Vasilis Torosidis and Ashley Cole—he looks like an incredible pickup, as his per 90 minute numbers best those men in a host of categories, including key passes, interceptions and even dribbles per 90 minutes.
Yes, these stats are somewhat cherry picked (he's not the most efficient tackler), but Santon's return to Italy seemed to cure what had ailed him during his days at St James Park, as his numbers were up nearly across the board, and particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Santon's dribbling, key passes, passing percentage and crosses per match all exceeded their 2013-2014 levels with Newcastle.
Really, the basis of my argument hasn't changed in the two and half years since I first pined for Santon; he has the size, skill and versatility to solve a lot of Roma's woes on the wings, and at only 24-years-old, and with a price tag presumably somewhere between two and four million, Santon could be an absolute steal for Walter Sabatini, not only solving an area of perpetual need, but freeing up additional funds to reinforce the squad elsewhere.
Please, please, please let this one be true.