When Roma first became connected to Stephan El Shaarawy last year, as part of a potential El Shaarawy for Mattia Destro swap, we cautioned restraint. While SES set Serie A aflame with Milan, injuries and a case of Balotellitis pumped the brakes on his once promising career. The potential was still there, but his loan spell with Monaco was far from successful, but with Roma falling out of Italy' s European places, El Shaarawy was a gamble worth taking.
With five goals and two assists in his first seven matches in a Roma shirt, SES repaid Roma's faith early and often, and while he's gone a bit cool lately, there's no doubt he's a young man reborn. Given his instant and effective chemistry with Mohamed Salah and Diego Perotti, El Shaarawy's place in Luciano Spalletti's side is assured. With a full summer of training under his belt, the sky is the limit for El Shaarawy.
But, and there's always a but, this deal is not without pitfalls. While Roma has the wherewithal to pay €13 million redemption fee, the timing of said fee may throw a hiccup into Roma's transfer plans. Seeing as how Roma ran afoul of Financial Fair Play, if this deal is consummated prior to June 30th, it will count as a violation of the ironclad FFP regulations.
Okay, so where's the beef?
Glad you asked--Roma's option on SES expires on, you guessed it, June 30th, meaning there will no longer be a linear path to securing SES. Given his rise this spring, you can rest assured other clubs will be interested in the 23-year-old attacker.
So, where do we turn? Where's our hope? Well, oddly enough, it may rest in the absurd deals Roma and Milan have brokered over the past few years. Mattia Destro, Andrea Bertolacci, Alessio Romagnoli and hell, even Bojan, have made the trip between Italy's two most glamorous cities recently, so there is a certain amount of good faith between these two clubs.
For my money, retaining El Shaarawy is, at worst, priority number two this summer (behind retaining Nainggolan and/or Pjanic), so if hashing out a postponed transfer means forking over a few extra million euros, so be it--he's just so crucial to everything Spalletti's attack can and will achieve next season, he's worth the added cost.
Of course, since this is Roma, it won't be easy because...umm...we don't know who will be doing the negotiating come July 1st.