There are a myriad of ways in which we can assail Roma's transfer strategy from the past 18 months, from overpayments to questionable buyout clauses to contentious sales, nothing has earned unanimous reviews from fans or pundits. The last minute acquisition of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has always remained a curious addition to that transfer ledger. Coming on loan from Newcastle on September 1st of last year, Mbiwa seemed like an innocuous enough reinforcement, someone who would sit idly by as Kostas Manolas, Davide Astori and Leandro Castan kept the ship afloat, until he was pressed into regular duty once Castan was ruled out for the year.
There wasn't much we could criticize MB about simply because not many of us actually knew a thing about him; his career, to date, has been rather non-descript. Furthermore, once he was pressed into the service, the results, while not as astounding as the match ratings may suggest, were adequate for a reserve defender. However, much like Astori, the extent to which Mbiwa played took some of the bloom off his rose—he became a de facto 90 minute a week player, becoming a fixture in Garcia's ever-rotating defense in 2015, by which point his flaws became exposed.
But, it was just a loan, no big deal, we didn't really have to fret about his future. That is, until, Sabatini made the deal permanent, forking over a total of €8.5 million to Newcastle; not a bank breaking total, but an awful lot for a man who would be, at best, the third choice this season. It seemed as though Roma was stuck with another adequate, albeit overpriced, asset; someone who would help maintain the status quo rather than breaking through the otherside.
So, it is with great joy we discuss his proposed move to Olympique Lyonnais, of all places. The former French giants are reportedly in talks with Roma over Mbiwa and are prepared to offer as much as €9 million for his services.
While this may not be enough to forestall the prospect of selling Alessio Romagnoli, taken together with the news that Mattia Destro is bound for Bologna and that West Brom might be after Seydou Doumbia, Walter Sabatini is slowly cobbling together enough funds to offset last week's spending spree.
So, if this is indeed the end for Mbiwa, we'll always have this:
Derby winning goals tend to buy a lot of leeway with the fans, so something tells me Mbiwa's brief stay in the Capital will be remembered fondly.