While much of the Roma world remains embroiled in the weekend’s controversy—Daniele De Rossi cold cocking Gianluca Lapadula in the face—the Giallorossi’s injury cycle continued to churn on unabated. In recent weeks, Roma was fortunate enough to get Rick Karsdorp back only to see him bow out with an ACL injury in seemingly the same breath, but that bit of bad news was softened somewhat by the returns of Kostas Manolas and Patrik Schick.
Manolas was given a breather against Genoa while Schick was eased into action for the final ten minutes or so, but lost among those headlines was another spot appearance at right wing by Roma’s most recent controversial signing, former Sassuolo hitman Gregoire Defrel.
To call Defrel’s season thus far disappointing would be a massive understatement. In three months plus on the job, Defrel has amassed only 427 minutes in all competitions, with nothing to show for them other than one yellow card. To be fair to Defrel, precious few of those 427 minutes have come at his natural position, center forward.
With Edin Dzeko cemented in as Roma’s number nine, Defrel has had to make due with scrap minutes in blowouts, while his rare starts and/or significant appearances have come as a right winger, spelling Stephan El Shaarawy as needed.
Well, after featuring for 32 minutes against Genoa, Defrel is the latest name on Roma’s injury rolls, suffering a blow to his left knee cap at the Marassi over the weekend. No word has been given on the exact nature or extent of these injuries, but Defrel has started a recovery program this week.
At this point, Defrel has become the butt of many a joke around the Romasphere—that €23 million price tag has done him on favors—but it’s hard not to feel bad for him. He was the man at Sassuolo, carrying the scoring burden in the wake of Domenico Berardi’s constant injuries, and seemingly had it made in the shade when he decided to follow Eusebio Di Francesco to Roma. Sure, he wouldn’t immediately unseat Dzeko, but his recent track record coupled with his familiarity with EDF was supposed to ensure him a steady role and plenty of scoring chances.
To date Defrel has been the sore thumb on Roma’s pristine hand—again, much of that is due to playing out of position—but throw a knee injury into the equation and now his already-suspect role becomes even shakier. In the short run, one would imagine Schick will receive the lion’s share of non-starters minutes along the frontline until he proves he’s ready for a larger role.
Defrel is a talented player and may yet come good for Roma, but this latest news could be a significant hurdle in that quest.
Bon chance, Gregoire.