In case you hadn’t noticed, the theme of Roma’s summer transfer campaign is less about who's coming and more about who's leaving. But that's really nothing new, selling players is part of business; it’s just one that Roma seems to do more often than some of their counterparts. What we don't see that often is players just not showing up, skipping training like they were 19-year-old me bailing on that sweet knife salesman job I lined up after my freshman year of college.
The ne’er-do-well in question just so happens to be one of the most maligned players in recent Roma memory, Steven Nzonzi.
While it will likely take several years before we can truly appreciate the lasting impacts of Monchi's magical time in Roma, the debate between who was his worst signing, Nzonzi or Javier Pastore, has dominated those early analyses. To his credit, Nzonzi wasn't as bad as we all thought, and played particularly well under Claudio Ranieri, but the writing has been on the wall for some time now: this marriage was never meant to be.
So, when Nzonzi failed to show up for his pre-season medical exam at Villa Stuart yesterday, speculation ran rampant: where was he? Did he miss his flight? Is he okay? Do we need to call Liam Neeson?
Rather than posing for the standard EKG/thumbs up photo, Nzonzi peaced-out and took a flight from Paris to Geneva, fueling rumors that he has no intention of remaining with Roma. And according to the Corriere dello Sport, Nzonzi is angling for a move back to France, where he hopes to sign with Lyon.
Now, if you've ever dipped your toes in the online dating waters, you know ghosting isn't always free of repercussions; someone always gets hurt. With a €30 million price tag hanging over his head, Roma simply cannot afford to give Lyon a massive discount, and will likely set a €25 floor for negotiations. However, the CdS speculates that Nzonzi could get his wish on the tried and true loan-with-an-option-to-buy route.
Nzonzi is a solid player, no doubt, but the fit with Roma was simply never there, making his €30 million move yet another symbol of Roma's mismanagement in recent years, one that is already coming home to roost.