The transfer business is always a dicey prospect. Players achieve success at their respective clubs for a host of reasons; through an amalgam of the right coach, the right tactics, the right opportunity and the right environment (always a tough term to define), players are free, for lack of a better term, to self actualize; to become the best versions of themselves. And when any part of that equation is altered, the player you knew, the one you thought you were getting, can become more fiction than fact. Of course, just the opposite is true, the proverbial "change of scenery" wherein a transfer awakens what was once dormant; think of Federico Fazio turning his career around when he arrived with Roma.
Point being, one simply never knows what to expect on the transfer market, so when Roma jumped in headlong for Patrik Schick two summers ago, to the tune of a potential €42 million, a little bit of caution probably would have served us well. But if you took one look at the kid, coming fresh off an 11 goal and three assist campaign (impressive hauls given he only logged 1,500 minutes), it was hard not to get excited. Even now, when you catch a glimpse of his awkward agility or his incredible close control, €42 million seems like a bargain.
Whether he was a new Marco Van Basten or a baby Bergkamp, it sure seemed like Roma had landed the next big thing; a tall, crafty and efficient scorer, one who would be (to borrow from the NBA) a Kevin Durant-like matchup nightmare for opponents. And sure, Roma may not have been the right opportunity for him given the presence of Edin Dzeko, but players like Schick don't become available every summer, so when Juve balked at his, well, balky medicals, Roma was there, ready, willing and able to break their transfer record for the Czech sensation.
And to say the returns on that investment have been poor would be kind. In the 18 months or so since his arrival, Schick has struggled to get on the pitch, let alone find the back of the net. With a scant 2,000 minutes to his name, Schick has been deeply buried on the bench behind Dzeko, featuring more as an out of position substitute that a future franchise player. Still, the rate at which he scored during his lone season at Sampdoria seems like it would have produced more than four lousy goals in 41 appearances, which is precisely Roma's ROI thus far.
So, is it any wonder, then, that both parties are reportedly looking to take a break and see other people for a while? This trial separation, first rumored several months ago, has suddenly caught fire and may, to the extent possible in the rumor mill, have actual traction.
#Roma, possibile prestito di #Schick alla @sampdoria anche senza scambi (Defrel è ritenuto incedibile). Dopo un lungo corteggiamento, il ceco, in attesa di novità sul fronte tecnico, ha dato la sua disponibilità al club blucerchiato#calciomercato— Eleonora Trotta (@eleonora_trotta) December 19, 2018
According to Trotta, a Calciomercato scribe, not only has this idea been bandied about in recent days, Schick has reportedly given a temporary loan move his blessing...a loan move back from whence he came, Sampdoria.
We're still acres away from this becoming reality, but god damn this looks bad for everyone involved. Not only would this would make two successive occasions in which Roma's (potentially) record breaking transfers have gone belly up—you know the first one—but this could set Roma back a couple of years at least, to say nothing of the tens of millions of euros they spent on him in the first place, and would still have to spend to find a suitable replacement.
Schick was supposed to be the future, a broad shouldered, square-jawed kid around whom the post-Dzeko attack would revolve, and while he may yet come good for Roma, as it stands right now, he's been a completely sunken cost, both financial and opportunity.
Maybe Schick moves to Samp and gets his head sorted out, and maybe he doesn't, but this is yet another in an increasingly long line of misses by Roma on the transfer market; couple that with their penchant, forced or otherwise, to sell their best players and, well, here we are...