We've all been there, you're starting a new job and you want to make a splash, to do something that really inspires your new co-workers. Maybe you volunteer to re-organize an archaic work-flow, perhaps you make 35 sales calls instead of the required 24, or maybe you just sweep up the shop floor without being asked. Whatever the case may be, as the new guy you just want to show that you'll take initiative, that you're a self-directed worker who won't be a burden to anyone.
But what if you're the new boss? How do you stake your claim then? The knee jerk response is probably to make sweeping, top-down changes, to alter the chemistry of the entire organization. Making such drastic changes can have a litany of unintended consequences, however, often times undoing whatever structure and chemistry existed in one's organization.
No, instead of turning things on their head, the best thing a new executive can do is to simply prove to his/her employees that he/she can chart a path and make decisions. In a word, to be decisive.
In his four-day official tenure as Roma's Director of Sport, Gianluca Petrachi has shown he can make the tough FFP decisions, parting ways with Kostas Manolas and Luca Pellegrini to meet that €45 million shortfall. But we can't give him too much credit for that simply because that was something that was thrust upon him; he had no choice.
While netting Amadou Diawara as part of the Manolas deal could prove to be a coup, Petrachi's first solo-decision looks like a bit of a head scratcher:
#Roma insiste per Gonzalo #Higuain: giallorossi possono garantire ingaggio da 4,5 mln al Pipita. #Juventus prima deve allungare il contratto fino al 2022 spalmando ingaggio e dando buonuscita (2-3M). Dopodiché Petrachi lo prenderebbe in prestito oneroso (9M) con dir.riscatto a 27 https://t.co/oZjRvZhpY2— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) July 5, 2019
Our old pal Nicolo Shira has beaten the pack to this story, providing some specifics to the hypothetical transfer of Gonzalo Higuain we discussed earlier in the week. In a vacuum free from context, I was on board with a Higuain transfer, largely due to lack of better options, but El Pipita was decent enough with Chelsea to give you hope he'd have another solid year in him, and if Juve were going to pay part of the bill, why not?
Yeah, about that....according to Schira (h/t to RomaPress for the translation), Roma are attempting a bit of a convoluted deal here. First, Juventus would have to extend Higuain's deal through 2022, thereby spreading out his current €7.5 million salary, and then pay him a severance of sorts, believed to be roughly €2 to €3 million. And once all that is signed, sealed, and delivered, Roma would take the 31-year-old Higuain on a €9 million loan with a €27 million option to buy (no word on whether or not it's mandatory), while paying him €4.5 million through June 2022.
That's...uh...a lot to digest, and no, that's not a joke about Higuain's weight. I don't even know where to begin, and I'm not even touching the part where this is supposedly a bridge to Nicolo Zaniolo moving to Juve next year.
Roma's wage structure has always been a bit controversial, but you can't ship out an aging striker making €4.5 million per season only to bring in another aging striker and give him €4.5 million and tell me that your aim is to make Roma younger and more ambitious, especially not when you're paying €36 million (€36 million!) for him.
When this rumor started floating around over the last week or so, folks were quick to point out Oh, it's okay, Juve will float most of the bill, which, to me, meant a free or minimally priced loan in which the Old Lady would (at least) split the wage bill down the middle. Getting a Higuain with a chip on his shoulder for two years, even at €3 million per year, isn't a bad deal all things considered.
But this? This is absurd. Between the loan, the redemption, and his salary, Roma are looking at sinking nearly €50 million into a 31-year-old striker whose effort and commitment, in environments far more hospitable than Roma, has always been in question.
"Right now we have to rebuild, re-lay the foundations and turn this into a winning team again. Rome wasn't built in a day and if you want to build a house, you have to start with the foundations."— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) July 5, 2019
And when you take this prospective move in the context of that quote, it looks downright insane. I have no problem with getting Higuain in and of itself, but not at this cost. Not only would it require some €50 million all told, it would come at the cost of Patrik Schick (who would surely see his days in Rome coming to an end) and it could hamper the development of Zan Celar—Roma's most enticing striker prospect in ages—to boot
Part of what has sunk Roma since 2011 is their inability to pick a path and stick to it: Are they going to spend their way to contention or build up from the bottom, focusing on young, cheap talent?
The fact that we can't answer that question speaks volumes about Roma's mismanagement. Whether it was Walter Sabatini or Monchi before him, Roma have preached patience and development on one hand while handing out ludicrous salaries to aging and/or injured players with the other hand, and if this move is any indication, Petrachi will be no more decisive than his predecessors.
If we look at the NBA for a reference, part of Roma wants to be the Lakers, spending their way into relevance, while the other wants to trust the process a la the 76ers, but in reality they've been the Knicks, doing a bit of both and accomplishing very little, while sinking their reputation in the process.
So, as a former frustrated employee of a sometimes faceless organization, trust me when I say this, Gianluca: just pick a path and stick to it. People won't always like it, but if you can at least explain it and they can make logical sense out of it, then you're ahead of the game.