When Arsenal flogged Gervinho in the summer - not many a Gunner fan would have batted an eyelid.
The Ivorian had become something of a running joke at The Emirates - with his bewildering ability to get tangled amongst his own feet and not put the ball in the back of the net leaving most Arsenal fans flabbergasted at the fact they paid £10.8 million for him.
But the new appointment as head coach of AS Roma this summer did not agree. He had worked with him at Lille and knew what he was capable of on his day - he had seen it first-hand.
So he went to the Roma board and told them he wanted Gervinho - the flop Arsenal were trying to flog.
Here is what Sabatini said:
“I would not have signed Gervinho for any other Coach. If a tactician requests a player for a certain role, then that’s different. Garcia specifically requested Gervinho, a player he had worked with and won with before at Lille. Because of that request we worked to bring Gervinho in. It was not an easy negotiation process, either.”
But it has turned out to be a stunning deal. Roma are top of Serie A with maximum points from seven games - and ran Inter Milan ragged last weekend to extend their winning form.
The performance of Francesco Totti got plenty of plaudits that day - but so did Gervinho’s.
In Il Romanista, local journalist Tonino Cagnucci stated - "Now Africa has its Messi".
Arsenal fans who base their thoughts on Gervinho on his performances last season will feel that is an insult to the Argentine star.
But he really has been, almost, that good.
In the past that comparison has been made - but now he is starting to live up to his obvious ability, in a more comfortable environment in Italy.
But Arsenal fans should not begrudge him success. Sure he was never the most consistent or outstanding player - but he always gave it his all.
Just now, it is paying dividends.
image: © ronnie macdonald