On Monday Jeremy Menez departed Roma after three years with the club and signed for Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth €9 million. The Frenchman will in all likelihood be remembered as an enigma, a player capable of flashes of almost unparalleled genius but also one plagued by an inability to translate those flashes into an extended run of form.
While his exit is far from surprising, it would be remiss to forget that as little as six months ago Menez seemed to have finally found his feet in Serie A. He struggled to come through a difficult settling in period that dragged on for almost two seasons and came to a head towards the end of 2009 when he came in for criticism from fans, as well as Coach Claudio Ranieri and a number of his teammates following an awful substitute appearance against Cagliari. His talent it seemed, was matched only by his ability to disappear in matches and his exceptional lack of work rate.
A public apology and some solid displays later, Menez was back in Ranieri’s good books and had set about staking his claim for a place in the starting eleven. Despite still blowing hot and cold, his performances improved drastically and a move into a more central role in the team at the start of the 2010-11 season benefited him greatly as he appeared to relish being involved in play more regularly.
His talent was there for all to see during a substitute appearance in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk. Picking up the ball in the final third, Menez waltzed by three defenders before curling the ball perfectly into the top corner to bring his side back within touching distance at 3-2 down.
However, this improvement was brought to a swift halt when Ranieri resigned and was replaced by Vincenzo Montella. The new Coach made it clear that he had little time for inconsistency and valued the work rate and consistency of players such as Rodrigo Taddei and Simone Perrotta over the occasional brilliance offered by Menez. His poor reaction to being left on the bench by Montella suggested that his time in Rome was coming to an end, as he was unwilling to stay and fight for a place in the team.
This has proved to be the case and Menez has left Roma as an undeniably talented player who failed for the most part to live up to his immense potential. Roma fans have been left wondering what could have been and hoping that his replacement, Erik Lamela, will enjoy a more successful time in Rome. Menez will likely also look back on his time at Roma with disappointment but will also be enthusiastic about his future at PSG, a club that seem to be moving in the right direction.
Aged just 24, Menez still has plenty of time to turn his career into an unqualified success and certainly has all the raw material required to press ahead and do so.