For a club with what feels like constantly moving parts, Roma has actually had some consistency in the striker position for the past five years. That consistency has gone by the name Edin Džeko, the Bosnian Diamond, with 87 goals scored for Roma in all competitions since his transfer in 2015. Džeko may not always have the unbridled support of Romanisti, particularly during his drier goalscoring periods, but he is without a doubt the best striker to tie up his boots for the Giallorossi since Gabriel Batistuta.
On the other end of the consistency scale, we have Patrik Schick, the €42 million man whose Sampdoria form has never translated to success for i Lupi. When Monchi first signed the Czech striker in 2017, I envisioned him as a way for Roma to slowly wean itself off of relying on Džeko for goals. Sure, Džeko had just come off of a capocannoniere season, but Father Time has defeated every challenger to date. Bringing in one of the hottest striker prospects on the continent was a statement of intent from Roma; it’s a shame that that statement fizzled.
Chiesa Di Totti has spilled a lot of digital ink on Schick since he first put on a Roma kit, and that makes a lot of sense; adding in bonuses, he’s Roma’s biggest-ever transfer! Nevertheless, if rumors are to believed, we may not have to spill much more. Corriere Dello Sport is now reporting that Schick may soon be leaving Rome for Dortmund, with the two clubs “filing the last details”. It’s unclear whether this will be a guaranteed permanent move or simply a loan with option to buy, but whatever the case may be, Schick may not be long for the Olimpico.
In all honesty, that’s probably for the best for all parties involved. Just yesterday, I wrote about how Rome’s environment chewed players up, and if you want a prime example of that, look no further than Schick. His potential at Sampdoria seemed to be that of a world-beater; his time at Roma, for whatever reason, made him look like a scrub. To quote bren (and since, we’re all bren, isn’t that basically quoting myself?):
During his breakout season with Sampdoria, Shick was many things—a center forward, a second striker, a striker who just happened to drift out wide—but he was not an out and out winger; indeed his average position that season was pretty central.
Despite all that, Roma initially tried to convert him into winger under EDF, that is when they played him at all. In his first season with the Giallorossi, Schick played all of 986 league minutes, which was followed up by only 1,300 minutes this past season, with his playing time dwindling once Claudio Ranieri found no use for him. Awkward tactical fits or not, 2,200 league minutes isn’t sufficient for anyone to prove their worth, let alone a 21-year-old kid.
Schick certainly bears some responsibility in all this, don’t get me wrong. His breakout with Sampdoria was born on the back of a season in which he outperformed his expected goal total by over five goals and his expected assists by nearly three, numbers which seemed unsustainable, but then again he actually exceeded his 2016-2017 expected goals total this past season, 5.99 vs 5.70.
So what gives? Is Schick an under-achiever or an over-achiever? Is he a flash in the pan or an enigma, some sort of unicorn who only comes out to play under certain specific tactical situations?
We certainly don’t know, and given their management of him over the past two years, neither does Roma, and that’s precisely the problem.
I still want to believe in Schick, but I’ve gotten to the point where I believe if Schick is to find success, it will be somewhere other than Rome. If this move goes through, in bocca al lupo, Patrik. May your pastures be greener elsewhere.