We take a lot of shots at Walter Sabatini around, and rightfully so, he's made some curious decisions over the past 18 months or so, but there is one realm in which Sabatini reigns supreme, spotting young talent. After all, it was his nicotine stained hands that plucked the likes of Erik Lamela, Matteo Darmian and Javier Pastore out of relative anonymity. So, regardless of how you think Brazilian up and comer Gerson will fit into this particular Roma squad, when Sabatini shows interest in a young player, particularly a South American, your ears rightfully perk up.
Facing stiff financial and emotional completion from Barcelona for the 18-year-old Brazilian midfielder (his dad/agent was/is adamant that his son will play for Barca one day), Sabatini has reportedly prepared a €17 million to €18 million offer, which may or may not include bonuses if Roma qualifies directly for the 2016 Champions League. On top of that, Roma is prepared to offer Gerson a five year deal worth a reported €1.2 million per annum. While this may be a fraction of what he makes some day, it's still an awful lot to spend on an untested teenager.
Now, the big question, where exactly would he fit into this current squad? Short answer, he won't. Given their glut of Non-EU players, Roma have no room to bring in their new Brazilian, but Di Marzio's site indicates Gerson would either be left with Fluminense for a further year or brought to Italy and loaned to newly promoted Bologna. Considering how jam packed Roma's midfield is, this is probably the best case scenario for getting him out of Brazil.
Next we move onto the conspiracy theory that's popped up in recent days. It's no secret that Roma are in dire need of a fullback and have targeted Barcelona's versatile veteran Adriano, only to be rebuffed in successive summers. However, with their transfer ban still intact, the Catalonians are reluctant to let any pieces leave until the ban is lifted, particularly as Manchester United are keen on taking Pedro off their hands.
In the darkest corners of the Internet, this curious set of circumstances has led many to speculate that Sabatini and his Barca counterparts have a handshake/wink-wink-nudge-nudge deal in which Roma will peel back on their pursuit of Gerson in exchange for Barcelona relinquishing Adriano. Adding further fuel to this fire is the fact that Barcelona, who actually hold and paid for the right of first refusal on Gerson, are unwilling to match Roma's bid. So, despite the improbability of the clubs conspiring together, the pieces and circumstances are a bit too coincidental, don't you think?
Adriano would be a boon to Roma, no doubt, but if Gerson is as good as they say, Roma might end up looking foolish in the long run. Furthemore, netting Gerson is insurance for the future, both tactically and financially. At this point in his career, there's no telling where he'll settle on the pitch, but if he fulfills his enormous promise, he may pave the way for Roma to sell one of their more valuable assets down the road.
So, what do we think? Are Roma and Barcelona involved in some sort of clandestine XYZ affair?