The State of the Serie A: Will last season’s Patrik Schick please stand up?

Not only did Patrik Schick join Roma with a great deal of fanfare towards the end of last summer’s transfer window, but his protracted move from Sampdoria also represented a club record fee for I Giallorossi.

When the deal was made official via a rather snazzy video on social media, the Czech striker was hailed as another great coup by newly-appointed sporting director Monchi following his arrival from Sevilla.

Despite being one of the most highly sought after players in Europe – he was wanted by Juventus, Inter, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund – the 21-year-old has so far failed to live up to hype since his switch to the Stadio Olimpico.

That’s not to say he has somehow become a bad player overnight – there are several reasons why he has not yet hit the heights of last season.

During his prolific spell under Marco Giampaolo earlier on in this calendar year, Schick earned comparisons to the legendary Dennis Bergkamp thanks to his deft close control and coolness in front of goal.

Schick has the tools to be a success in Rome – there is absolutely no question of that – but must bide his time just as he did earlier on last season when his opportunities were equally sporadic.

In addition to the well-documented injury problems he has suffered from in recent months, there are also tactical considerations to be made when evaluating Schick’s adaptation to life in the Italian capital.

When he did most of his good work under the tutelage of the aforementioned Giampaolo, he played in tandem with another centre-forward in the Samp coach’s preferred 4-3-1-2 formation.

There is a world of difference between that and Eusebio Di Francesco’s preferred 4-3-3 system, which he has deployed almost exclusively since joining La Lupa from Sassuolo at the beginning of last summer.

Edin Džeko is the main man at Roma, and wrestling a starting berth away from him will be no easy task for the former Sparta Prague protégée. Now that he has his first goal under his belt – albeit a late consolation during a Coppa Italia defeat to Torino on Wednesday – he will hopefully grow in confidence and play his way into Di Francesco’s plans on a more regular basis.

Naturally, it takes time to adjust to a new club where there is much more pressure on you to win every single match. Taking into account Schick’s relative youth, fitness woes and tactical differentials, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for him in his maiden season at one of Serie A’s major forces.

That said, time is very much on his side and he still has all the attributes required to prove worthy of every last euro Roma spent on him.


Written by Jordan Russell

Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96 

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