While Gerson’s Roma career is all of 401 minutes, it's safe to say that it’s already been one of the more dramatic in club history. First his name was uttered in hushed tones in the farthest reaches of the internet, the next great Brazilian star destined to light Europe aflame. This, then, led to the natural Barcelona and Real Madrid connections, the former of whom seemed to have a deal locked and loaded for the Fluminense teenager, but somehow, someway Roma weaseled their way in, muddying the waters just enough to give Gerson pause.
After a complex web of negotiations between the three clubs and Gerson’s dance momager/father, Gerson was Roma’s for the not-so-insignificant sum of €16.6 million. But it was hardly that simple, Barcelona made a €3.2 million down payment of sorts to have the right of first negotiation prior to his Roma move, which had to be considered and reimbursed prior to Roma acquiring him...like we said, drama.
When all was said and done, Roma threw down a lot of cash for an extremely young and extremely talented midfielder only to barely use him. While gaining minutes behind Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan was always a tough task, it would have been reasonable to expect a bit more than 400 some odd minutes through his first six months in Rome.
All of this has naturally led to speculation about his immediate future. Would Roma loan him to Bologna? Sassuolo? Granada? No matter the port of call, it had to be better than riding the pine at the Olimpico...well, be careful what you wish for.
Football Italia has picked upon a report from L’Equipe claiming that Roma has been in talks with Lille over a Gerson move, reportedly a loan with an option to buy. Now, were this Juan Iturbe and that option was pretty much guaranteed not to be vested, no worries, but given Gerson’s youth and limitless potential, Lille has every reason to exercise that option, which one would imagine would be in the neighborhood of what Roma originally paid.
Now, before we go on a rant about Roma’s impatience with youth—we’ll save that for when Leandro Paredes is sold to Juventus—we’ll just assume they’ve inserted a buyback clause in the deal, but would that really make it any better? Do you have any faith they’d actually exercise that option, or are the already murky futures of Matteo Politano and Lorenzo Pellegrini making you doubt such deals?
Either way, this represents a wasted opportunity in any number of ways. The first and most obvious is the wasted year of development for Gerson. 400 minutes and a handful of matches is hardly enough to get Gerson his sea legs, so to speak; he needs to adapt, to grow and to mature, things that can’t be accomplished from the stands. And when you look at the opportunity cost, it's just as bleak—that €16.6 million could have been spent on a player capable of contributing immediately rather than wasted on a project that’s about to be scuppered anyway.
We’ll reserve final judgement until this move is confirmed or denied, but given the club’s effusive praise for Gerson, it’s hard to imagine they’d let him walk free and clear, but their handling of young players and willingness/need to sell doesn’t bode exactly buoy your spirits, does it?