Roma might need a tactical change to fit Patrik Schick


It took Roma almost the whole transfer market window, but they managed to replace Mohamed Salah, who joined Liverpool at the start of the summer. Giallorossi long chased Ryiad Mahrez, who is similar to the Egyptian winger, then they signed a very different player in Patrik Schick. There is no questioning that the Czech striker is a great talent and that he is very well worth the investment, considering that the health concerns that scared away Juventus appear to be resolved. The formula of the transfer is creative, but simply put Roma will pay at least €34M and up to €42M. It is also a sort of redemption story for Giallorossi, who were very close to signing him last summer for just €4M, but Sampdoria acted more swiftly.

Schick scored 11 goals in 32 appearance in his first season in Serie A, netting two more in Coppa Italia. Impressive numbers for a 21-year-old newcomer who was never truly a regular starter up until the very last portion of the season. Marco Giampaolo quickly noticed that Schick was devastating coming off the bench: he tallied six of his first seven goals as a super-sub. His former coach was critical of Schick’s choice to join Roma, stating that he can not play as a winger.

Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find a way to insert him in the regular XI very quickly in order to justify the sum paid for him. The manager has used only his regular 4-3-3 so far, adapting Gregoire Defrel to the right flank, in Salah’s spot. A winger in his early years, Defrel had grown into a full-fledged center-forward in his Sassuolo stint and he has struggled a little with his new team.

The first move will indeed be to try Schick as a right winger. He should have no trouble fitting next to Edin Dzeko: he has great technique and at Sampdoria he played as a second-striker or even as a no.10, alongside Luis Muriel and Fabio Quagliarella. On the flank, however, he might be too distant from the goal to be truly effective and, while he has above average mobility for his size, he has nowhere near the agility and the pace of Salah and Domenico Berardi, who thrived in that role at Sassuolo. There are also questions regarding his ability as assist-man.

The manager has not experimented much in his fist seasons in Serie A, relying heavily on 4-3-3, with minimal detours towards 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2. With the first option, they would still have a hole on the right: Defrel, Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy are only passable in that position and it would be unfair to ask too much to Alessandro Florenzi, who is coming off two torn ACLs. On the other hand, 4-3-1-2 would be very natural for Schick: they can use Perotti or Radja Nainggolan or the Czech himself as no.10 and they would maintain their three-man midfield intact, which is one of their strength. Considering that they have two very offensive-minded fullbacks like Aleksandar Kolarov and Bruno Peres, they would still have decent width. It is now up to Di Francesco to find a way to make his roster shine.


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