Say this much for Roma, she operates at extremes, and in this instance, Roma went large. Today the club officially signed former Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick on a club-record €42 million transfer. In a move that was the complete antithesis to their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez, one in which they repeated attempted to knock down Leicester’s demands, Roma went all in with no equivocation, blowing their competition out of the water to obtain the 21-year-old Czech prodigy.
As you can see from the now requisite creative and hilarious announcement videos, Roma has, as we just mentioned, made this deal official, though in this instance, Schick doesn’t even appear in the video. Is he the goat? The lion? The primate? I don’t know. While I appreciate Roma’s social media presence—it really is among the best in all of sports if we’re being honest—these kitschy videos have jumped the shark for me.
Wait, here it is, the club literally just posted a more traditional one—Schick holding up his new, #14 kit, an honor previously bestowed on one of my favorite short-term Romans, Ludovic Giuly.
As it turns out, Roma went even larger than we had previously discussed, topping the €38 million that was bandied about through much of this rumor. In terms of how the actual €42 million will be doled out, we’ll turn to the official announcement itself:
The agreement includes an immediate loan fee of €5 million and, upon the completion of certain sporting objectives, an obligation to make the transfer permanent for a further €9m.
The terms of the permanent transfer also include various performance-related bonuses, worth up to a maximum of €8m, based on the achievement of certain sporting objectives on the part of both the club and the player.
Additionally, Sampdoria are entitled to a final payment of €20m in February 2020. Should Schick be sold prior to 1 February 2020, the clubs have agreed that Sampdoria will be entitled to 50% of the eventual transfer fee or €20m – whichever sum is the greater.
It’s a rather interesting and cagy move by Roma. Do the math and you’ll see that Roma are only paying five million today, giving them some wiggle room to make other ancillary moves this summer, while one would imagine that €9 million payment is due in June, with the €8 million in bonuses coming as they are met, though one would imagine they’re probably pretty low hanging fruit. But the big mamma jamma, the €20 million, has been delayed for a full two-and-a-half years. And while there is no buyout clause in the strictest sense, Sampdoria will get 50% of the eventual transfer fee in the event it exceeds the €20 million balance of the deal—keep an eye on that one.
I’m not enough of an economist to figure out the ulterior motives here, but Monchi essentially chopped the bill up in threes, with roughly a third—the loan fee and first “installment” as it were—due by June, with the remaining two-thirds being spread out between now and February 2020, depending on how quickly those bonuses are met.
In some ways, it resembles an MLB or NBA free agency move in which the bulk of the money is deferred to the end of the deal, following the axiom that money today is worth more than money tomorrow. Either way, Roma sacked up on this one, so the extent to which Schick flourishes or flops will impact Roma’s bottom line for years.
For his part, Schick was rather pithy upon first signing:
I am very satisfied to be here and very happy. For me Roma is the ideal team. I am looking forward to training with the group and getting ready for the upcoming games.
Now comes the fun part, figuring out when and where this kid will fit in with a suddenly crowded and extremely talented attacking core. If you look at all of EDFs forwards and/or wide players, Edin Dzeko is really the only one penciled into a defined role, as Stephan El Shaarawy, Diego Perotti, Cengiz Under and now Schick can seemingly fill a variety of roles. And if you factor in Radja Nainggolan and even Gerson, Di Francesco has a plethora of options for the front five in his formation.
So now the onus is on EDF—how will he manage and deploy all this talent? It’s an exciting and angst ridden question.