We all know that wingers are to Rudi Garcia what pizza is to Ninja Turtles, but when word started to leak that Roma were interested in Mohamed Salah, we began to wonder what would happen to our beloved fraternity of wingers, which had already added a new pledge in the form of Iago Falque--someone's minutes would suffer, that much was certain. However, once the financial details of the Salah move became clear, which may run Roma upwards of €20 million, we really started to scratch our heads. Between Salah and last summer's big get, Juan Iturbe, Roma had invested over €40 million in new wingers.
In a vacuum, this wasn't an issue, as one can imagine Garcia could rotate Salah and Iturbe pretty easily, but when you look at the entire list of wingers at his disposal, it became increasingly obvious: someone had to go, and quick. Of course, this issue was exacerbated by Gervinho refusing a move to Al Jazira, but the fact remains there are too many cooks in this particular kitchen.
For months now we've speculated that Adem Ljajic would be the sacrificial lamb, his blood offered as a sacrifice on the altar of Gervinho, Garcia's favorite player/demigod. However, in a move that would delight some and devastate others, the Corriere dello Sport reports that Fiorentina have added Iturbe to their potential shopping list because, unlike they Roma, they actually need more bodies on the wing.
While the CdS doesn't mention any specifics of the deal, beyond speculating that this would be some attempt to pacify the Viola in the wake of the Salah saga, given how much Roma invested in him, one would imagine this would be a tough negotiation. As we've mentioned several times over the past few years, when you invest over €20 million in a kid—and make no mistake, Iturbe is still a kid—it behooves you to give them every opportunity to succeed or fail.
So, even if Roma has made up their mind to move forward with Salah, it's not as simple as accepting the first bid. Roma made a substantial investment in Iturbe, and while one can argue that it wasn't well thought out to begin with, that smirk of satisfaction wouldn't take the edge off selling Iturbe at a loss.
Then there is the Non-EU quota factor. With Salah and Edin Dzeko coming onboard, Iturbe and his non-European lineage and lack of backdoor passport skills would make a good counter balance for Roma's newest Non-EU acquisitions, but again, that's flimsy reasoning for a potential financial loss.
My best guess, this is pure bluster. I can't conceive that Fiorentina would offer Roma equal value, nor would or should Roma take that large of a hit on Iturbe, whose market value is probably at its lowest point now.
However, the broader concern, just exactly how Garcia manages to spread the wealth on the wings, remains an issue of deep concern. Iturbe is, for a lack of a better word, still developing and needs just as much playing time as any of Roma's other prospects, so another season of inconsistent match time is just bad news all around.
August has been a crazy month so far and shows no signs of slowing down.