Antonio Rüdiger has been a full-on Roma player for all of 24 hours now (give or take), and if the rumors prove true, they're already looking to cash in on the 23-year-old star in the making. If you recall, Roma redeemed Rüdiger's contractual rights from Stuttgart for approximately €9 million yesterday. What initially looked like a hefty investment in an iffy asset now looks like an absolute steal, as Rüdiger became a certifiable starter from nearly day one, showing steady improvement all season long, pairing with Kostas Manolas to give Roma an agile and aggressive duo at the back.
Sounds like a fantastic piece of business and an ideal building block for the future, right? Oh, Jane, you ignorant slut.
While they're just rumors, it seems as though Roma aren't quite keen on keeping Rüdiger on their roster for too long and apparently sent out a mail merge to all the petrol clubs in their rolodex to let it be known that Poppa Pallotta wants that cheddar, son--Flip that #$%!@
And hey, look who replied! Chelsea! Our favorite corporate monolith/football team. Abramovich's army are reportedly willing to go as high as €30 million for young Rüdiger, the latest shiny object to catch Antonio Conte's eye as he looks back towards Italy.
This figure, initially reported by Il Tempo, was quickly contradicted when La Repubblica passed along word of a meeting between Chelsea execs and Rüdiger's agent, whereupon Roma had supposedly dropped their asking price to €22 million because, even when you're sacrificing the future, you don't want to make too much profit.
As if that weren't bad enough, we've also become privy to a sell-on clause in Rüdiger's contract that entitles Stuttgart to 10% of any future sale price, though no indication was given if there are any deadlines to activate this clause.
Words can barely begin to express how shortsighted and foolish this move would be, if it indeed comes to fruition. Throw aside all the basic, rational reasons why you shouldn't make this move (continuity, chemistry and the simple fact that he's, you know, good) and this proposed sale is still rubbish. Given his age, his acclimation to the league and his improvement throughout the year, wait a few years and he could easily be worth well over €30 million.
But more to the point, the mere notion of this move cuts right to heart of everything we hate hearing about our beloved Roma, that, despite how much they brag and boast, when it all comes down to it they're provincial, they're a feeder club, they're a wanna be, nothing but a wanksta--Shout out to Fiddy, aka Ferrari.
But as stupid as that analogy may sounds, it's right isn't it? If Serie A was a battle rap contest from the early 00s, who else could Roma be other than Ja Rule, the subject of that classic 50 Cent dis track? What have they done lately? What serious challenge have they mounted? They perpetually come up short and throw their hands in the air, exasperated when they can't find a solution, yet the minute a club like Chelsea picks up the phone they flip a young, talented and cost effective assets like Rüdiger; it's a punk move, simple as.
And if this is some sort of back channel FFP appeasement, then sell Miralem Pjanic; you have a ready made replacement for him, the same cannot be said for Rüdiger. And yes, Walter Sabatini has a decent track record finding and securing center backs, but at some point the merry go round has to stop. At some point you have to say, 'these are my guys, this is who were building around and this is who will bring us success, profit be damned'.
We mentioned it several weeks ago, but the the theme of Roma's summer transfer market isn't about how much they spend, it's about how much they can resist.