For better or worse, mostly worse, Victor Ibarbo has come to symbolize Roma's misguided and inexplicable winter transfer campaign. With Yevhen Konoplyanka, Mohammed Salah and even Stephan El Shaarawy ripe for the taking, Walter Sabatini opted for the athletic yet uncoordinated Colombian to reinforce Roma for their run at Juventus in the spring of 2015.
And we all know how that worked out. Roma held onto second place, but just barely, while Ibarbo was a complete dud, registering only one assist in 11 appearances for the Giallorossi. On the brightside (sarcasm alert), he was dispossessed a club leading 2.1 times per match, which was actually an improvement over the 3.2 he averaged while at Cagliari last year.
But, hey, he's fast! And tall! And he might even be a striker!
As far as the particulars of this transaction (or conversely, mounting evidence of Sabatini's incompetence) is concerned, we'll turn to the PDF:
AS Roma SpA announces that it has reached an agreement with Cagliari Calcio SpA for the transfer of Victor Ibarbo on a one-year loan deal until June 30, 2016. Cagliari will be paid a fixed loan fee of €5m, potentially rising to €6m in bonuses relating to the performance of AS Roma and the player himself.
The deal also includes an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the 2015-16 season for a fee of €8m.
While having a freakish athlete on one's squad has its benefits--the ability to turn an odd match based purely on their god given physical gifts certainly goes a long way in a title hunt—even as the token fast guy, Ibarbo is subpar. At minimum, Gervinho was one of the league's most dangerous players with the ball at his feet, averaging 3.1 dribbles per match with a 61% success rate, while also providing an actual threat of goals. Ibarbo, on the other hand, managed only one dribble per match with a paltry 43% success rate, threatening the goal about as often as Parma pays their players on time.
Given the ineffectiveness with which Ibarbo has used his otherworldly athleticism throughout his career, I simply have no way to rationalize this move. The fact that many of those same players remain available, and with Xherdan Shaqiri even reportedly being offered to Roma, Sabatini's bad move looks even worse.
So, In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, dear Lord Baby Jesus, do not let Sabatini, or at this rate his replacement, pick up that option.