While Domenico Berardi’s name has been linked with Roma various times over the last few seasons—albeit a large part of that was due to his former manager Eusebio Di Francesco sitting on the Roma bench—a move never came to fruition during EDF’s tenure, but now the 24 year old feels that the time is right for him to take the next step in his career, saying to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Football Italia),
“I wasn’t ready then, so that is why I decided to remain and I don’t think I wasted that time. Now I feel at ease with myself, especially as I am more of a complete player and I’m no longer such a hothead. My first career objective was to complete the maturation process and I feel that I’ve done that with Sassuolo. I find it difficult to change, but it no longer frightens me. I would do it.
The next objective is to play in Europe, but it’d have to be at a club where I know I’d be used regularly, if not all the time. That is my priority. If an offer were to come, whether it was from Milan or any other club, I’d evaluate it. If I feel that it is the right proposal, one I have to grab, then this time I’ll tell Sassuolo: I’m taking that chance.”
If Berardi really does feel the time is right to make a move, could he be an option for Roma? That is a complicated question. With Roma heading to Emilia-Romagna to face Berardi’s Sassuolo, let’s weigh both sides of the many coins Roma would have to spend to bring Berardi to the capital.
The talent is there. It always has been. That was clear when Berardi burst onto the scene as a 19 year old with Sassuolo way back in the 2013/14 season. In his maiden voyage at the senior level, Berardi was a revelation for newly promoted Sassuolo. In that campaign, Berardi lit up Serie A scoring 16 goals and assisting 6 others; helping save his newly promoted side from relegation in the process.
Berardi followed his breakout campaign up with a sophomore season that was, in some ways, even more impressive. He scored one less goal than the previous season (15), but added four more assists (10); meaning he’d directly contributed to just over half of Sassuolo’s 49 goals scored. The one knock on Berardi early in his career was discipline, as he finished with 10 yellows and one red card his first season, and then 13 yellows and one red his second.
A star was seemingly born, and once the second year of his loan spell was up in Emilia-Romagna, it seemed a given that Berardi would return to his parent club Juventus to continue growing into a superstar. However, to most people’s surprise, Berardi opted to remain with upstart Sassuolo, rather than moving to the champions; likely knowing minutes would be hard to come by in Turin.
Well, football can be a fickle sport, and as quickly as a star can ignite, it can just as quickly burnout. Thus, over the last four seasons, despite the regular transfer rumors, Berardi has remained with Sassuolo without coming close to matching his early success. His production dropped to seven goals and six assists in 15/16, five and nine in 16/17, and a horrendous four and two last season.
The Case for a Roma Move
Berardi has bounced back nicely this season for mid-table Sassuolo; currently sitting on seven goals and four assists in 30 appearances. No, it’s not the top notch production that we saw in his first two seasons, but for a winger it’s a decent haul. Additionally, Berardi has matured from a discipline standpoint. He’s only been shown a yellow card five times this season, the lowest total of his career.
While it feels like Berardi has been around forever, he will be just 25 years old when the next Serie A campaign begins. That means whoever takes a chance on unlocking Berardi’s talent will be getting a player entering his prime years. If Roma is the right place likely depends on who is manning the Roma coach’s box. If it’s (hypothetically) Maurizio Sarri who loves playing attacking football with wingers then perhaps Berardi could flourish in the capital.
Meanwhile, likely the biggest factor in a potential Berardi move would be the price tag. If Roma could find a way to strike a deal somewhere in the €25 million (currently valued at £16.2 million on transfermarkt) then this move could make sense, especially if players like Diego Perotti and Cengiz Ünder find their way out the door this summer. That price tag could be a bargain if Berardi returns to his early career form.
Let’s Look Elsewhere
Detractors will point out Berardi’s inconsistencies. The guy hasn’t played his best football in four seasons. Do we really want to take a chance on a someone who hasn’t been able to sustain success? If Roma is in serious rebuild mode, it needs to make sure it spends it’s money wisely this summer. The new sporting director can’t swing and miss on as many signings as Monchi this summer. Dropping €25 million, or potentially much more (Squinzi values him around €40 million), on the Berardi of two seasons ago would qualify as a big swing and miss.
Additionally, Roma has to consider it’s greatest needs. Roma already need a new starting keeper and another starting caliber center back. Meanwhile, with De Rossi’s impending departure, defensive midfield will also have to be addressed. Perhaps striker, too. Is winger really that great of a need with Stephan El Shaarawy, Justin Kluivert, and if he stays, Ünder already in the fold?
Should Roma Make a Move?
In the end I could see Berardi being an alluring proposition if the price is right. On the contrary though, I could also see Roma not even considering Berardi based on his most recent seasons and a potentially high price tag with Sassuolo looking to cash in. What do you think? Should Roma make a move? If you’re on the fence, keep an eye on #25 in black and green attacking Roma’s left flank on Saturday.
Should Roma kick the tires on a Berardi move this summer?
This poll is closed
He’s too talented not to
His inconsistencies scare me
Check back with me after Saturday’s match