Well, what we've speculated upon and what many of us have feared all summer has come to pass, Roma have sold hometown boy Alessio Romagnoli to hated rivals AC Milan, marking the second time this summer Walter Sabatini has capitulated and sold a valued prospect to our northern nemesis. Reports are circulating the two sides will finalize the deal tomorrow in Milan. So not only did Sabatini sell Romagnoli, he couldn't even make Adriano Galliani leave the comfort of his own home.
You don't need me to rehash Romagnoli's story, and while he isn't a Roman in the truest since, he was born close enough and shot up through the club's youth ranks that he immediately garnered a spot in all of our hearts; a fourth horseman to stride along with Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi, sticking their noses up at the Milanese sides and proudly fighting for their city.
Sam's gonna hit us with a more vitriolic take on this deal, so I'll try and keep it middle of the road for now. Multiple sources indicate that Sabatini did, indeed, get his €30 million wishes, though it might be €25 million up front and €5 million in bonuses.
Sabatini, as one would imagine, given how this will make him the most hated man in the Eternal City, was rather pithy with his words:
The agreement will be formalised tomorrow, certainly with the satisfaction of all concerned. We will now ask those responsible for the Under-21 side to release him, because he needs to have a medical. I saluted Romagnoli and told him to put himself at the disposal of Milan.
Sabatini ended with....the journalists in Rome have every right to be angry
Umm, yeah. I'm not sure it's the journalist you should worry about, Walt. Sleep with one eye open, you may be ridden out of town for this one.
While we can applaud him for landing Edin Dzeko and even Lucas Digne, every other move he's made over the past year--which, don't fool yourself, led to this sale--could be classified as redundant, and if we want to be quite frank about it, this sale probably doesn't happen if he didn't fuck everything up in the first place and purchase asinine assets like Seydou Doumbia, Victor Ibarbo last winter and Iago Falque this summer, and yes we can even throw Iturbe into that discussion, though it pains me to do so.
And yes, getting €30 million for a kid with only one season under his belt is actually a coup in and of itself, but as we've harped upon many, many, many times, where do you draw the line? Who is beyond reproach? What does this man really value? What message does this send to the players in your youth academy? Or to the players in your first team for that matter?
Making matters worse, it's not as if this €30 million is going towards some new purchase. Nope, its going to balance the books because of all the ill fated decisions he's made over the past two years. Fantastic.
At some point, you simply have to give your youth products a chance to play on the first team; financially and tactically, it's the best long-term course of action; homegrown players are simply cheaper and the better long-term investment--can you even picture Roma paying €30 million for anyone on the open market? Didn't think so, so why on earth part with one? You could've had the 30 million production for a fraction of the wages.
Forget about where this kid was born, the simple fact that Milan was willing to fork over that much should tell you something about his abilities and his potential. Between Romagnoli, Marquinhos and even Erik Lamela and Bertolacci, Sabatini caved in and sold for way less than had they simply waited a year. Granted, its a gamble either way, but you're telling me they couldn't have gotten upwards of €40 million for Marquinhos the following summer?
And if Romagnoli really wanted to go Milan in the first place, fuck him and fuck Sabatini, milk them for every euro they've got. If they're willing to go thirty, squeeze them for forty. Romagnoli was under contract and Sabatini didn't have to kowtow to a kid's demands. If he wanted to play in Italy this year, it would have been for Rome.
This whole thing just smacks of ineptitude, from beginning to end, Sabatini's putrid decision making in the winter has now altered the course of this franchise for the next decade and has tainted all that he has accomplished.
Bottom line, if Edin Dzeko doesn't deliver the Scudetto, Sabatini needs to be fired.
Period. End of story.