While the nature of their arrivals were markedly different, Juan Iturbe and Seydou Doumbia, in their own way, are emblematic of Walter Sabatini's greatest shortcomings as a Director of Sport. In the case of Iturbe, it's testament to Sabatini's penchant for reacting rather than researching. The minute Antonio Conte resigned from Juventus, Sabatini was on Iturbe like stink on a monkey, never questioning if the kid was really ready for the stepup. Doumbia, on the other hand, represents what we can call Sabatini's point and click mentality--Roma needed a striker last winter, and hey, look at that, it says 'ST' next to Doumbia's name, what could go wrong?
These are exaggerated claims, of course, but in each instance, Sabatini spent big money on players who came up woefully short. While Iturbe's may have been a case of immaturity colliding with the weight of expectations, Doumbia was simply never a good fit for the club, a situation made worse considering Sabatini had just jettisoned Mattia Destro during the same window.
Despite those travails, we all gave Big Walt a virtual clap on the back when he not only found suitors for these two depreciating assets, but managed to wrangle a profit out of the deal. Well, you know what they say about things that seem to good to be true.
With a grand total of 102 minutes between them since their respective winter moves (granted, Doumbia has only been with Newcastle for about 10 days or so), it's looking like Roma will be left holding the bag come June when these loans with an option to buy come home to roost.
While we can speculate, hope and pray that Luciano Spalletti can turn Iturbe, still just 22-years-old, into something resembling a useful footballer, with the wealth of attacking talent at his disposal, odds are he'll just rot on the bench next to Doumbia.
An untenable situation may actually get worse--€36 million in unwanted assets sitting on the bench, forever staining the legacy of Walter Sabatini.