The astonishingly short Roma career of Gerson Santos da Silva has been the subject of much discussion and debate here at CdT. Purchased during the winter of 2016, Gerson wasn’t just another teenage Brazilian prospect. No, the kid from Rio had some serious juice behind his name, so much so that Roma paid €15 million for the then 18-year-old, beating out the likes of Juventus, Atletico Madrid and most notably Barcelona, who may or may not have been turned off by his father’s LaVar Ball impression.
While Gerson was a little light on the old CV, what brief glimpses we had of him were quite promising: size, agility, touch and technique; he fit the bill as the next Paul Pogba. While Roma isn’t exactly Barcelona in terms of historic appeal and worldwide reputation, it’s still not easy for an adolescent to break through at Trigoria.
So when it took Gerson nearly four months to make his Serie A debut in November of 2016, no one was really surprised. After all, he had to compete with several veterans for playing time, so his development was always meant to be a slow burn.
Presumably the fine folks at Roma were aware of this, leading many of us to plead for poor Gerson to go out on loan; rotting away on the bench wasn’t serving either party. However, so the story goes, Gerson’s father was having none of that—the belief being that Roma won the bidding process by virtue of promising, or at least intimating, that his son wouldn’t be sent out on loan.
So he wasted away, trading recipes with Roma’s other bench players during the long Serie A nights, his promise going unfulfilled and Roma’s investment going for naught. But a new season and new manager brought with it new hope; Eusebio Di Francesco was a well known whiz with young players, so surely this was Gerson’s time to shine.
And while Gerson played nearly four times as many minutes as the prior season, his 899 minutes of league action were barely enough to whet anyone’s appetite, and his brace versus Fiorentina notwithstanding, 2017-2018 was another wasted year for Gerson, leading to those familiar cries for a loan.
According to Di Marzio we may finally get our wish. It seems as though Roma and Empoli are working on a loan deal for the 21-year-old midfielder. The newly promoted Serie A side, and reigning Serie B champions, led by former Roma assistant/caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli are looking to reinforce their club ahead of their return to the top flight.
While a lot can change between now and the start of the season, a cursory glance at Empoli’s roster reveals only a handful of veteran midfielders (Hello, Matteo Brighi!) and a crowd of kids, so Gerson should have every chance at some legit playing time if this loan comes to fruition.
Gerson has bided his time in the Eternal City, but with new reinforcements now ahead of him in the pecking order, a loan move is essential to saving his Roma career, to say nothing of his career in Europe full stop.
Gerson hasn’t yet strung “it” together, but the disparate parts we’ve seen over the past two seasons are enough to get you excited. There’s definitely something there, so let’s hope for everyone’s sake they get this sorted out.