The co-ownership agreement between Roma and Genoa for 24-year-old Andrea Bertolacci was settled in the Giallorossi's favour earlier this week for €8.5m. Romanisti were ecstatic that the local lad Bertolacci would finally be returning to the club which he represented at youth level, as he’s yet to make a senior appearance.
However news has now emerged that Milan and Roma are in advanced negotiations, which would see the Italian international transfer permanently to San Siro for a reported €20m. A fee, which given Bertolacci's standing on the Lupi depth chart is a shrewd bit of business from sporting director Walter Sabatini. Should Bertolacci remain in Rome, he would theoretically have Miralem Pjanic, Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi ahead of him in the pecking order, this despite a sensational campaign with Genoa last season, scoring six goals and assisting a further eight for his teammates.
It can be argued he has earned the right to have a crack at making the first team, after years of loans/co-ownership spells at Lecce and Genoa. Although with the Giallorossi needing to raise funds to acquire players to address needs at full back and up front, Bertolacci's potential sale seems a better alternative than sacrificing Nainggolan, Strootman or Pjanic.
A tidy profit can be had on the Italian and while that might not be what Roma fans - particularly local fans - want to hear, it must not be underestimated. The ability to make a good profit on the sale of a player who isn't guaranteed a starting role is what management would be looking to accomplish.
On the reverse side, a player with enormous talent, one that is starting to become somewhat of a regular for the Azzurri, could be an important part of Roma's future. For the romantics, Bertolacci remaining would allow him to further strengthen a core of Romans which includes Francesco Totti, De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi and Alessio Romangoli. The club, though need to do what is best for the team and can't allow sentiment to sway their decision.
Big question marks surround the futures of Maicon, Jose Holebas and Ashley Cole at the club. This makes signing a couple of full backs paramount in Coach Rudi Garcia's tactical gameplan. The rumoured names of Layvin Kurzawa, Bruno Peres and Lucas Digne, as well as a big name striker don't come cheap and Sabatini will have mulled the decision over on Bertolacci's future and the future of Roma heading into 2015-16. Gervinho's impending departure, not to mention Mattia Destro's rumoured sale, together with Bertolacci's outgoing would net a sizeable monetary return which can be put into the transfer market to address glaring inadequacies from last term.
It looks increasingly likely we will probably never see Bertolacci in a Giallorossi first team shirt. While it is a big regret that he might not be afforded the chance to display his undoubted ability in Rome, the club must think of the greater good. In this case sacrificing a home grown talent to strengthen areas of weakness could pay off in the long term.