On the date of August 2, 2021, Eldor Shomurodov became just the second Uzbek player to play in Serie A. Acquired for around 17.5M euros, Shomurodov previously spent his days playing for FC Rostov and, later, Genoa. He scored the third-most goals for the Il Grifone in the recent season and surpassed his expected goal count of 5.8. The eight-time goalscorer has become a source of controversy as many deem his deal overpriced, bad business, and silly. However, in this article, I’ll explain my stance on the Shomurodov signing, why Pinto knows what he’s doing, and what can be expected of him coming into the Serie A campaign.
He’s Not Starting Yet, And That’s OK
We already have two strikers jostling for a starting position: Borja Mayoral, who is loaned from Real, and Edin Dzeko, who has the third-most goals scored in Roma history. Amidst all the competition, it’s unlikely that Shomurodov will beat both Mayoral and Dzeko for a spot. And that’s OK. Shomurodov is supposed to provide depth for the striker position while also helping Primavera players a little bit.
Alright, well why don’t we get a cheaper player? It’s not like he’ll be playing a significant role.
Well, he will play a significant role. Anything could happen. Edin Dzeko is 34. He deserves a break now and then. And we don’t want Borja Mayoral playing on an injury because there’s no depth.
All right, well why don’t we find a player that’s "worth the 17.5 million"?
Shomurodov is worth 17.5M. He’s one of the best players, if not the best player, on an Uzbek national team that is currently preparing for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification. He has the fifth most goal scored on the Uzbek national team: and he’s only 26. The pacy, clinical forward is accurate from a distance with his passing and can finish reliably.
We’re not buying him for his talent right now, I reckon. We’re buying him for the depth that he creates, for the reliability that he brings off the bench, and how he can make the striker position more competitive instead of a two-horse race.
I’m A Little Angry, And So Are You
When I first learned about the transfer move for the 26-year old Uzbek striker, I was a little bit angry. I read articles, hoping for a big-name transfer, but I came out disappointed. But I realized why I was angry. It was because the money was going to a relatively unknown attacker, instead of the big names. You all know what I’m talking about. Mauro Icardi. Granit Xhaka. Andrea Belotti. All of them I would’ve liked to see in carmine red, but it probably won’t happen unless some of our players depart for other pastures.
However, Shomurodov represents some of the underrated players that steadily produce. They’re the players whose impact can’t be expressed in stats, no matter how advanced the stats are. They’re the players who are looked over because they don’t play for a big club.
Do you know who FC Rostov is? You probably do. Well, in the 2019/20 season, Eldor Shomurodov led the team in scoring en route to obtaining a group stage spot in the Europa League. The RPL is one of the most competitive leagues in the world, and in the 2019/20 season, Shomurodov was seventh in goalscoring. That is enough to warrant scouts’ attention. It should be. And it was. It’s the reason that the then-24-year-old Shomurodov ended up at Genoa.
Pinto knows what he’s doing. He has more powerful and elite scouting tools than all of us.
So, don’t be surprised Shomurodov is at this level already. The stats we are using right now are limited, so we need to keep an open mindset.
To Recap: Shomurodov Might Not Be A Breakout Superstar, But the 20M Euros Are Still Worth It.
Shomurodov won’t make the impact that can be expressed in stats. He won’t be voted league MVP, lead the league in assists, or net the most goals. But what we can guarantee is that the Uzbek striker will be a nice addition for I Giallorossi. Not only is he a beast of a player, who terrorized the Russian Premier League, and gave Genoa fans a glimmer of promise, but he’s also a cushion. He’s a cushion in case Dzeko and Mayoral. While the 20M euros may have been a little too much, Shomurodov, hopefully we show us his promise coming into 21/22 season.