Ah, Patrik Schick, where do we begin? If you're the superstitious type, or even just a little stitious, back in the summer of 2017 you were probably wary of Roma gambling on another failed Juventus transfer. After Roma snatched Juan Iturbe from the ashes of Antonio Conte's unexpected retirement form Juve a few years earlier, only to see the young forward struggle for form, fitness and confidence, the site of Roma swooping in to grab Schick after he failed his Juve medical probably gave you medical conditions of your own.
All kidding aside, it was quite a relief when Schick's medical problems proved to be temporary and before you knew it, he was putting pen to paper on a €42 million deal; the largest in Roma history.
But, as you're no doubt aware, Schick struggled to live up to that billing. After a debut season in which he logged only 986 league minutes and scored only two goals, it was pretty much all down hill for Schick, who never seemed to find a tactical fit in Eusebio Di Francesco's lineup and was all but cast out under Claudio Ranieri.
Shick would find a soft landing spot in Leipzig this past season, scoring 10 goals and providing two assists in 22 Bundesliga appearances. But even that wasn't enough to convince Leipzig to trigger their €29 million option on the 24-year-old Czech forward. And so Schick entered into an awkward limbo where the team with whom he'd arguably achieved his greatest success (Leipzig) didn't think he was worth €29 million while the team to whom he was contractually bound (Roma) didn't think he was worth giving a kit to.
Enter Bayer Leverkusen, everyone's favorite German-based pharmaceutical football team. With Kai Hevertz finally on his way to Chelsea for a cool £72 million, Leverkusen are free to reinvest some of that cash into their attack.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Roma and Leverkusen are close to completing a permanent transfer, with the German club paying €27 million to acquire Schick, plus the possibility of a sell-on percentage. Twenty-seven million is obviously a far cry from the €42 million they originally paid for Schick, but it at least cancels out the final €20 million installment Roma recently paid to Sampdoria to complete the original transfer from 2017.
Hopefully, we can give Schick a proper post-mortem when this deal becomes official, but suffice it to say, it was a disaster from Roma's perspective. With a questionable tactical fit from the word go, Roma seemed all too eager to capitalize on Juve's misfortunes again and when you coupled this transfer with those of Javier Pastore, Steven Nzonzi, Gregoire Defrel and so on and so forth, it's not hard to see how Roma found themselves in their current financial quagmire.
But you have to ask yourself: did Roma really give him a chance? With barely 2,300 league minutes in a Roma shirt, the club hardly gave Schick a proper trial period, which looks particularly bad when you consider how much they invested in him.
Sure, you can say he just didn't fit in with Roma's game plan, but, again, if you're investing €42 million in a player, you have to create an environment in which they can succeed. Roma's approach with their record signing always seemed sort of haphazard, relying on the player to fit in rather than helping him fit in, or, dare I say it, building the team around him.
Still just 24-years-old, Schick has plenty of time to rediscover the kid he was with Sampdoria and the Bundelisga seems like an ideal place for a player of his talents, so for his sake, let's hope it works out because he's still a mesmerizing talent.
Good luck, Patrik!