Thursday July 12 2012
Roma, why sell Borini?

Roma’s consideration to sell Fabio Borini to Liverpool – even if it subsequently allowed Mattia Destro to join the club – is questioned by Antonio Labbate.

Why? It’s the one word which came to mind when Roma admitted earlier this week that they were evaluating an offer from Liverpool for Fabio Borini. Well, so some say, such a sacrifice would then neatly allow the Giallorossi to re-invest those funds in a bid for Mattia Destro, the Siena man who is co-owned with Genoa, but is also wanted by Inter and Juventus. At the risk of sounding repetitive, why?

Destro is a fine prospect and one who could potentially explode under the guidance of Zdenek Zeman, the new Roma boss who has a penchant for attacking football that any young forward would benefit from. But Borini is hardly on his last legs. Fabio was, after all, born nine days after Destro in March 1991.

Being interested in the former Ascoli and Inter youth team player is understandable, willing to invest the €10m plus that it would take to sign him is also praiseworthy in the present economical climate, but not when it would come at the expense of one of the few positives to come out of La Magica’s problematic campaign under Luis Enrique last term.

Arriving on loan in the capital on deadline day in August, Borini wasted little time in proving himself to the club. So impressed with his ability, the outfit bought a 50 per cent share in him from Parma during the January window and then sealed the other half of his contract with a successful €5.3m blind auction offer last month. 

The former Chelsea youngster ended the season with nine goals in 24 League games and those statistics could have been even more impressive had injury not restricted his use. By the end of term, he had outshined Erik Lamela and Bojan Krkic, he was promoted from the Italian Under-21 set-up to the full side and was part of Cesare Prandelli’s Euro 2012 squad – even though he didn’t feature in Poland or Ukraine.

Destro too caught the eye of the Italy CT, so much so that the tactician was contemplating taking six forwards to the competition after including the Siena youth in his 32-man preliminary squad. In the end, he didn’t make the cut because although he had hit 12 Serie A goals in 30 games, Prandelli’s tactical plans required other characteristics elsewhere.

Borini is a wide attacker, someone who works the flank like an attacking full-back if necessary, while Destro is a more traditional centre-forward. In other words, Destro wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Borini. If anything, he would only subsequently complicate the club’s transfer plans this summer.

On paper Fabio would seem to be an ideal fit for Zeman’s 4-3-3. Mattia, however, would be another central striker option to add to Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, Francesco Totti and Marco Borriello – the latter a man who the club have unsuccessfully been trying to shift for over 12 months now. Roma don’t need four centre-forwards, they arguably don’t even need three with no European football commitments.

Destro, coming off the back of a strong second half of the season, is clearly the more fashionable player right now. The calibre of clubs chasing him underline that claim, but Roma’s need to invest is at the back and not in attack. Unless Liverpool are offering silly money for Borini, then Roma would be taking an unnecessary gamble in cashing in on a boy whose value – both financially and on the field of play – has the real potential to increase.

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