Ah, Reject’s Day, one of my favorite holidays, where Kris Kringle leaves his reclusive lair for the dawn of summer to drop off poorly wrapped, secondhand “gifts.” Sure, some of these gifts offer promise, but most will just get sent away again until next year. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, anyone? While June 30th marks the day that Roma receive a gaggle of promising youth players back to the fold, they will also have to
welcome stubbornly accept the return of perhaps their two most despised players: Seydou Doumbia and Juan Iturbe.
Firstly, I must insert an authorial aside here about our dear friend, Seydou. On late nights, after far too many alcoholic beverages, my friends and I have a running gag where we yell DOUMBIA, sprinting and jumping over things like mailboxes, tables, or even people. Foolish, I know, but then again so was Roma’s shotgun signing of the Ivorian.
If you didn’t know, or simply didn’t care, our old 88 has been passed around like a venereal disease since joining Roma in the dreadful winter mercato of 2015. CSKA Moscow, Newcastle United, and Basel have all been the one night stands of Doumbia. Like lustful lovers, they have left poor Seydou once he’d been used, and Roma, the dutiful ex, has been left with the task of dealing with the reject.
Despite his practically nonexistent spell at Newcastle, Doumbia’s loans have gone rather well. For his former club, CSKA Moscow, he scored 11 goals in 21 matches across all competitions, and this season at Basel he netted 18 times in 24 appearances. Now, while the Russian and Swiss leagues are bottom tier, the aforementioned teams play decent football, competing with best of Europe.
So why have these teams forgone keeping the Ivorian? Well, his three million euro wage for one. Another may be that Doumbia’s work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. At Roma, Doumbia looked like he was playing on depressants. Lethargic, slow, apathetic. I’m sure somewhere FIFA gamers were wondering how their messiah could be so bad in real life. But, I digress. For whatever reason, Seydou has not been loved by his temporary landlords. This leaves Monchi and Roma with an astonishing conundrum: what the hell to do with Doumbia? Valencia CF are reportedly keen on him, so there may be one last hope to ship him away once more before his contract expires. Surely, they wouldn’t buy him outright. Roma would never be that lucky. The only other option would be keeping him, praying to every God (Totti, I miss you) that he somehow awakens from whatever funk Rome instilled in him.
Onto Iturbe. Only in Rome can you find a team that has such dead weight. I, like many, was excited by Juan’s hype. A pacey, left-footed
Paraguayan Argentinian Paraguayan with an eye to get around defenders. But as of yet, Iturbe has shown very little to amount to his 25 million euro price tag. Like Doumbia, Iturbe has been exiled from Rome for his underwhelming performances. The signing of Salah all but banished the South American’s hopes in making it into Roma’s starting eleven.
So how have his loan-spells measured up? Not too bueno. In half a season at Premier League side, AFC Bournemouth, Iturbe made just four appearances, running around like a chicken with his head cut off. This season at Torino he fared better, managing to post some stats at least, claiming a goal and three assists in twelve appearances. Yet, his mediocre displays have earned him a plane ticket back to Rome where he will likely have no part in whatever team Roma’s future coach builds. Still, the Paraguayan is young at 23 years, which makes him less of a gamble than thirty year old Doumbia. While at Hellas Verona, Iturbe shined in a counter-attacking 4-3-3, which just so happens to be the formation and tactical style used by Roma’s next coach candidate, Eusebio di Francesco. So, don’t rule out the possibility that Iturbe sticks around if the Sassuolo mister comes to Rome.
With Reject’s Day fast approaching, media pundits will surely make noise on Roma’s returning loanees, but the truth is that much remains uncertain until James Pallota names the next giallorossi coach. Even then, we all may be surprised on who stays and who goes. But for shits and giggles here’s an arbitrary poll to spark the comments section. Arrivederci!
If you had to pick one to stay at Roma who would it be?
This poll is closed
F*** that, I won’t conform to such a stupid question. NEITHER!