One of the great delights of being a sports fan is speculation, wondering what if. Whether we’re talking about singular moments within a match or broader, season long concerns, wondering what if is an alternatively exciting and excruciating exercise. What if Antonio Cassano wasn’t batshit crazy, how many titles would Roma have won? What if they had fired Rudi Garcia sooner? What if the Sensi’s weren’t mired in debt, where would the club be now?
While these are all entertaining questions, the bullet truly hits the bone when we talk about transfers. What if Roma had actually kept Giorgio Chiellini? What if they never sold Marquinhos? What if they never bought Juan Iturbe?
Questions like these can drive you mad because they allow you to peek into an alternative reality in which Roma is, you know, consistently excellent. With Chiellini and, say, Manolas at the back, no one would dare tread on Roma, while the money spent on Iturbe, or more aptly, had he signed with Juventus, Roma may have been able to snare Paulo Dybala to put alongside Francesco Totti.
So while it’s fun to speculate on these sort of things, armchair DSing, if we can all it that, is only bound to leave you frustrated because, I mean, if you can see these things and make these connections, why couldn’t the club?
Of course, things are never as simple or linear as they seem, but the transfer rumor mongers of the world hit us with another what if scenario this week: Roma’s €12 to €13 million deal with Saint Etienne for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who of course went on to sign with Borussia Dortmund, for whom he has scored 80 goals in all competitions since making the switch in the summer of 2013.
For the particulars, to the extent they exist, we’ll turn to PEAs agent:
He’s worth €70m-80m now, those are the demands of Borussia, as they have no need to sell. He should’ve been signed when we were proposing him to Italian clubs and he played for Saint-Etienne, as then he cost just €12m-13m plus bonuses.
The only one who wanted him, and in fact had blocked Aubameyang, was Walter Sabatini at Roma.
So for whom did Roma pass on that production you might ask? Well, none other than Mattia Destro. Listen, I’m the biggest Destro fan on the planet and even I’m not crazy enough to argue this one. For a mere €13 million, less than they paid for Destro, Roma could have landed one of the planet’s finest attacking talents, and had the rest of history unfolded in the same manner, they might be pairing him with Dybala right now.
However, if you find yourself overwhelmed with anxiety, take solace in this: they would have sold him at the first sign of success anyway.
It’s the Pallotta way: Make Roma (a) Great (investment) Again.