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The Curious Case of Romulo

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In one of the odder transfer sagas of the summer, Romulo joined Juventus last week. Here's a look at the series of events that took the Brazilian to Turin.

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Gabriele Maltinti

The transfer window after a World Cup is always a bit silly, but perhaps nothing has been sillier than the trajectory of one Rômulo Souza Orestes Caldeira. The Brazilian-born but Italian-naturalized utility man struggled to find a place in the Fiorentina starting eleven after being signed from Cruzeiro in 2011 for €2.5 million.

Despite flashes of substance in 2012/13, Fiorentina unsurprisingly offloaded Romulo, who never really fit into the freewheeling style espoused by Vincenzo Montella. He went to Hellas Verona on loan, and had his best season to date by some distance, with 6 goals and 8 assists for the giallo-blu, where he linked up very well with another ex-Viola, Luca Toni.

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After such marked improvement and consistent play which even brought a pre-selection to the Italian national team, Romulo may have been set to compete once again for a spot on the increasingly competitive Fiorentina roster, and indeed early in the summer it appeared as though he were going to stay in Florence. But his importance to Verona last season proved too much temptation, and Fiorentina eventually received a €3.5 million bid which they accepted, possibly choosing to not hardball one of their "friendly" clubs in Italy. The move would have also made sense for Romulo, who could have continued to enjoy playing his game at a club where he was appreciated and had a solid starting role.

This is where things got weird. Out of nowhere Juventus expressed their interest to Verona, and within 10 days the deal was done: Romulo would go to Turin on loan, with €1 million upfront and €6 million the price set to keep Romulo past this year. With such a low price-tag offered for one of their star performers from the season before, I struggle to understand the logic behind Verona making the deal. Similarly, although there are reasons for Romulo to make the move to Juve (higher pay, potential Champions League play, testing yourself), the bottom line in my thinking is that he could very well have been a well-paid 12th man in Florence... Why seek that out now in Turin, behind the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner and Arturo Vidal? Perhaps he is counting on Max Allegri's tactical "innovations" to guarantee him some playing time.

Whatever the logic behind the series of events, Romulo remains surprisingly well-thought of by Fiorentina fans, considering he was a Fiorentina role player who has now joined Juventus. I know I only regard him a model professional from his time in viola, and will always remember that one crazy goal from that one crazy game against Torino...

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We wish you all the best Romulo, and your new team all the worst.