Following his appointment as the new Roma boss last month, Rudi Garcia has since managed to make an impressive start to life at the Stadio Olimpico by bringing in a host of exciting new talent ahead of the upcoming Serie A season.
The arrivals of Mehdi Benatia, Kevin Strootman and Maicon highlight the club’s ambition to gatecrash the European spots this season and the Frenchman will have plenty more funds to play with after the recent sale of Brazilian defender, Marquinhos to mega-rich Paris Saint Germain for €35m.
Another name expected to depart the capital this summer is controversial striker, Pablo Osvaldo, with Premier League side, Fulham waiting in the wings to secure the Italian’s signature.
It’s hard to name somebody the 27-year-old hasn’t upset during his two-year stint with the Giallorossi and for that reason, he is likely to leave the club this transfer window if the right money is put forward. Osvaldo is something of a fiery character, having been sent off nine times in the last six years of his career, and the Argentine-born forward had two separate altercations with team-mates, Nicolas Burdisso and Erik Lamela last season. The list of doubts that come with the obvious talent is endless.
Reports in Italy on Friday claimed Fulham, buoyed by the new ownership of Shahid Khan, had tabled an offer of around €12m but Roma are looking more towards the €17m mark. Southampton were strongly linked last month but the former Espanyol striker turned down the chance to discuss a move to St. Mary’s and also Russian side, Zenit St. Petersburg.
Although his brief spell in Italian football has mainly been disrupted by arguments and criticism, Osvaldo has shown on many occasions that he is a quality striker on his day and would be a fantastic acquisition by Martin Jol and the Fulham board this summer.
Last season, Osvaldo scored 17 goals in 26 games as Roma finished sixth in Serie A and were also runners-up in the Coppa Italia final. His best strength is scoring different types of goals, whether that be with an acrobatic strike or lifting the ball over the goalkeeper when running onto a through ball, and his anticipation in and around the box is sometimes overlooked.
Osvaldo is also very strong in the air, scoring five times with his head last season, and often likes to play one-twos with team-mates and drift into the box for deep crosses or pull-backs from the by-line. He is an intelligent footballer but much depends on how he could link-up with Dimitar Berbatov should he choose to follow Maarten Stekelenburg from Rome to West London this summer.
Like Berbatov, Osvaldo doesn’t like to drift out wide and run the channels, nor does he put many crosses into the box, with just 5 of his attempted 24 last season being accurate. However, he does like to play short passes and drop inside on his right-foot, therefore the build-up play through the centre, along with Bryan Ruiz, sounds fruitful and that could be something Martin Jol might want to establish up top.
In 2012/13, Osvaldo attempted an average of 21 passes a match, totalling in 662 with 442 (71.1%) of those being successfully executed. He also showcased his overall team-play by creating 18 chances and although he was playing alongside world-class stars such as, Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic at Roma, Osvaldo would work well playing alongside the likes of Ruiz and ensure the goalscoring touch that has brought 39 league goals in the last three years of his career with both Espanyol and Roma respectively continues.
Berbatov (15) was Fulham’s top goalscorer by a long stretch last season, with Mladen Petric (5) being the second highest and the Croatian has since been released, therefore more options in attack is something unquestionably needed at the Cottage before the start of the season. Osvaldo would be a shrewd choice to fill that void but it all hinges on whether he could form a superior partnership with the genius that is Berbatov.
He’s a guaranteed 10 goal-a-season man and perhaps his cautious temperament, or the fact that Roma want to recoup most of the fee they paid to get him in 2011, is the reason why more clubs apart Southampton and Zenit haven’t expressed an interest in his services. If they can handle his attitude and identify a system that suits both himself and Berbatov, Osvaldo would be a great signing by Fulham.
Stats via WhoScored