As Fragma once sang in the not so shabby song Toca’s Miracle:
Let me tell you, you know, aah, I need a miracle, I need a miracle, it's more than physical what I need to feel from you
Oh German dance, you never fail to disappoint me... Now, what Fragma was talking about is waiting for a miracle to happen. Not only physical, but also mental. The bigger picture. The feeling you’re complete, you’re at 100% and no one will stand in your way. The final piece of the puzzle has been laid.
Roma’s very own miracle and notoir transfer headache this summer, is Riyad Mahrez. An above average footballer (I think we can at least all agree on that, no?) from Leicester and former Player of the Season in the second best league of the world. After Serie A of course, with the baddest club of them all, AS Roma and its mighty ACL, the Army of Cursed Legs.
Now, I’m sure Bren can already type his name blindly in Japanese and Swahili, hell he might even dream about Mahrez after a gazillion posts since June about the Algerian, but this situation is so delicate, so silly yet so typical Roman. Buy Defrel for a total of 20 million without hesitation, but play hardball about Mahrez. Ok, so Defrel was a request from Eusebio and 20m is half of Mahrez rumored value, but isn’t Salah’s replacement more important than Dzeko’s deputy? Isn’t Mahrez worth it while there are arguably other alternatives who are as good as Defrel for that kind of money?
The right wing still needs an injection of creativity, pace, wizardry and trickery. Starting Defrel there is a risk while Perotti has the left wing spot sealed. There’s also SES but he hasn’t played a single minute yet in pre-season. Ünder showed promise but is just a kid while Iturbe is, well Iturbe. Even Professor Charles Xavier could do a better job than him on the wing, and for the record, he sits in a wheelchair and could be Manuel’s grandfather. I won’t even start to name all the plan B’s that popped up for Mahrez because I’d like to celebrate New Year together with my friends and not in front of my laptop... New Year 2021 that is.
Simply put: Mahrez seems the ideal chessman in Eusebio’s 4-3-3 but his transfer has been dragging on for too long now. Mahrez himself even openly spoke about it in the media, how many times did that happen? That a player is so desperate he tells about his ongoing negotiations in the media? The only villain in this plot seems Leicester City, who seem damn resistant to sell Riyad. Who can blame them though? After a dreadful 2016-2017, the Foxes want to do (a lot) better and preferably battle for a European spot. The loss of Kanté dealt a huge blow, losing Mahrez could mean another uppercut and another gray season.
So what’s the solution here? Cough up the dough? But is Mahrez really worth 40 or 50m? I don’t see Roma breaking their own transfer record considering the Americans are rather protective about the cash inflow and outflow, with FIFA breathing in their necks. Plus, Monchi is known to not overspend for a player. So let’s just wait then, call Leicester’s bluff and hold out for August 31, when Mahrez is even more unhappy about it all and no one other club than Roma will take him? Put all our eggs in one basket? Or stop the deal immediately and look for someone else?
I say Leicester need to know their place. They’re no Chelsea or Manchester and Mahrez’s previous season was no success. In fact, during the seasons before his breakout in 2015-2016 he wasn’t exactly lighting it up as well. Therefore his price tag is reduced, it’s Basic Economics 101. And what’s the point of keeping an unhappy person in your team anyway? Roma sold Salah, Pjanic, Benatia too, even though they were cornerstones of the club. If you’re not a European powerhouse, you risk losing your best players, it happens to a lot of clubs. Even Barca had to let go of Neymar, albeit getting a pretty decent sum for it. Accept the money, spend it wisely and thank God that Mahrez even played in your stadium!
"To sell, or not to sell?" That is the question Leicester’s coach Craig Shakespeare must ask right here and now and make a final decision, so we can stop this saga once and for all. Otherwise we’re only wasting our valuable time.
Mahrez may be Roma’s miracle man, but we’ll need a miracle to bring him to Rome.