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Totti Today #44: Holding no grudge against Gervais

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Because who needs breaks anyway? Here I am, merely a week after preaching an interval between two seasons, yet writing another piece about AS Roma. And one player in particular. Or should I say ex-player. Gervinho, the black panther of Rome, is as good as gone. And much to the delight of the tifosi. Justified?

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AS Roma rarely takes a break in our minds. July 1st is still three weeks away but we’ve already had our fair share of silly rumors. Bacca, Dani Alves, Van Persie, Ayew, Cuadrado, Immobile,… I’m used to waking up, turning on the pc and choking on my coffee (black, no sugar). But one rumor quickly turned into a certainty, a reality. Gervais Yao Kouassi aka Gervinho will leave Rome, travel to Abu Dhabi and is on the brink of signing for the great Al-Jazira Club, alongside another former Giallorosso, Vucinic. He’ll earn twice as much which might come in handy for his firm Ghairvinho (production of hair accessories, with the iconic label Chanel N°27).

Let’s take a quick overlook at Yao’s Roman career in Italy: two seasons, 57 appearances, 11 goals. No prizes, a lot of tireless but brainless running and egocentric decicions on the pitch. This season he managed an antrocious 2 goals in 24 games (he missed a part of Serie A due to AFCON). Could he have done better? Hell yes. Did we expected a lot better? Not really. While he may be fun to look at at times, Yao is a very one-dimensional player. Sure he’s fast and dangerous on the counterattack but it didn’t took Italian clubs six long hs to figure out his movements, playing style and weak points. He took Serie A by storm with 9 goals and a handful of assists in his first season but 2014-2015 was very different. Frustration took over among the tifosi. His haters laughed even , the believers turned into doubters.

Contraray to what my title says, I don’t particularly dislike the guy. He has a unique set of skills which came in handy for Garcia and his 4-3-3. But it was written in the stars Gervinho would merely be a one-hit wonder. Rudi always had his back, he was the Frenchman’s favorite and selling him will surely raise a couple of Rudi’s eyebrows (in fact, both of them). Solely a unique financial opportunity (we’re talking about € 13-14m after all, almost double of his original price) or just Walter flexing his muscles to show Garcia who’s boss concerning transfers and team management? There are enough tricky, speedy wingers available. In fact: Iturbe, Ljajic, Florenzi, Verde and Ibarbo already provide a lot of options for Garcia or whoever is in charge next season.

Selling Gervinho would be a great first move for Summer 2015. Not because he was that bad or was a burden on AS Roma, but simply because the timing and offer are spot-on: Roma makes a profit while Walter still has plenty of time to find a replacement. Yao will never be a fan favorite like Florenzi, Castan, Strootman or Pjanic. He won’t be missed for long. Just ask Arsenal’s point of view. Gervinho’s a rolling stone, destined to switch clubs from time to time. Nothing wrong with that, football is his job and everyone wants to earn a nice paycheck, especially African players who have seen poverty and want to help their families.

Gervinho’s only the start. Doumbia could soon follow in his footsteps since 1) Destro is returning and 2) Roma are linked with way too many strikers. Clearly the management are aiming to release the unwanted or unconvincing names in order to free up some wages and make sure the top 2 stays a realistic target for next season. The first thing they should do with Yao’s money is too invest it in Nainggolan. This Summer should be based around one principle: give the right players the right offer. Radja’s recent stellar performance in a friendly against France will only raise his value and lure bigger (and thus rich) candidates. AS Roma already has 50% of his ownership, they can’t afford to let Radja slip through the maze since he has became an integral part of this team.

Then try to strike a deal for Astori, bring back Romagnoli and Bertolacci, test them in pre-season, accelerate the hunt for a LB and RB. I would say now is time for a small summer break but I have the feeling there’s a lot of movement behind the curtains these days. After all, the show must go on.

Who needs breaks anyway? Roma surely doesn’t.