Sometimes it’s better to keep it short and sweet; a sentence or two often says more than paragraphs. So it was on Saturday afternoon that CSKA Moscow announced on their official website, they were selling Seydou Doumbia, their prized asset and the man who almost single-handedly kept them in title battles and dragged them through their Champions League campaign.
CSKA weren’t a one man team, but they’re much worse off without him. The announcement was lacking in words but the impact of those words was what mattered.
After a single sentence thanking the Ivorian forward for all his successes whilst at the Army Men, the club listed all the honours he had won in the Russian capital. Two Russian titles, two Russian cups, two Super Cup’s, Russian Premier League top scorer twice and Russian Football of the Year twice.
His record upon leaving CSKA read an impressive 61 goals in 95 games.
As with many transfers involving Italian clubs, it was Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio who announced on gianlucadimarzio.com the financial details of the deal that took 27 year-old Doumbia to Roma.
The fee that Roma’s Sporting Director Walter Sabatini has agreed with CSKA is 14.4 million Euro’s up front, with 1.5 million in add-ons, with the striker agreeing a deal until June 2019.
Doumbia will link-up with fellow Ivorian Gervinho, the man he is currently away on international duty with at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
Upon his return, he will be tasked with dragging Roma back into a title race they seem intent to ignore. Saturday’s awful 1-1 draw at home to Empoli was the perfect example of why Doumbia is needed, as the Giallorossi had eleven shots on goal but only managed four on target.
It’s a familiar theme for Roma, who despite sitting second in Serie A are eighth in the table in terms of shot accuracy with only (45%) and sit in sixth for average shots per-game (14.33). For a team with Scudetto aspirations, coach Rudi Garcia will be aware these vital statistics must improve.
Doumbia has led a relatively nomadic existence as a footballer. After spending his youth at various youth clubs in Ivory Coast, he went to Japan, playing for Kashiwa Reysol and Tokushima Vortis, before moving to Switzerland and Young Boys. He hit 50 goals in 64 games at the Swiss club before CSKA president (and good friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich) Evgeny Giner paid 15 million Euros for the front man, according to Goal.
The Russian Premier League is a tough place to play, though the level of football is higher than what many give it credit for. Many outside influences, from the weather to the fans can make playing in Russia tough, but Doumbia has shown himself to be a very capable striker, comfortably the best in country during his time in the country.
Last season he netted 18 goals in 22 games, winning the title when it seemed Zenit and Andre Villas-Boas had snatched it away.
In the penultimate game of the season, Villas- Boas’ St.Petersburg side lost 3-0 at home to Dinamo Moscow, with CSKA winning their last five games to take the championship for a second consecutive season.
Doumbia’s shot accuracy last term was 63%, impressive until you consider that this term his record is 78%. Of the Roma players still at the club, Ljajic’s accuracy is 65%, Gervinho’s reads 53% and Francesco Totti’s is 45%.
In the eight Champions League games he has played over the last two seasons, he averages 67% this term and 75% last year. Clearly, Doumbia is a man who knows where the goal is.
Though he is an excellent goalscorer, Doumbia also offers more in the way of build-up play and creativity. This season his passing accuracy in the Russian Premier League is 73%, a good number for a forward, with last season reading 77%.
Over the past couple of campaigns, he has also created a chance per-game for his team-mates, racking up seven assists last term, combined with the one this season.
With Rudi Garcia’s men not having one outstanding goalscorer, Doumbia can not only solve this problem, but also maintain the team ethic that has turned them into title contenders and on course for a second season of Champions League football.
An attacking line-up of Doumbia, Gervinho and Iturbe provides excellent pace and now with the Ivorian a possible end product.
Mattia Destro left Roma to join Milan, via the Daily Mail but Doumbia looks like an upgrade, a more complete forward who provides Roma with something they lacked before.
How quickly he can adapt to Serie A’s brutal defences will be intriguing, though if he can cope on a freezing pitch in Siberia against Tom Tomsk, he should be just fine on a spring day against the likes of Chievo.