It was just 12 months ago that I penned an entry asking the question: Is Gallardo an upgrade over Gomez? And our conclusion at the time was that although Gallardo wouldn't have the same numbers as Gomez did, he would ultimately benefit the team more. We figured that Gallardo probably wouldn't be able to guide United to its third sonsecuritve Supporters' Shield, but that he was brought here to make the team more competitive in international tournaments.
Well as it turns out, none of that was true. But now a year later, it's Christian Gomez that might be returning home and Marcello Gallardo that might be departing.
It's far too easy to build an argument that the 2007 Gomez was better than the 2008 Gallardo. But unfortunately those are not the players we get to choose between. We are actually choosing between the 2009 Gomez and 2009 Gallardo.
In reality though, this needs to be framed as two separate questions:
1. Are we better off with or without Gallardo?
2. If Gallardo were to leave, are we better off with or without Gomez?
Marcelo Gallardo clearly has a strong desire to return to Argentina, so I see no point in keeping him here to be unhappy. I just don't think we'll see the hard work out of him that will drive our team to victory.
I see the complete opposite out of Gomez. This is a guy with something to prove: to Colorado, to DC, to the fans. Gomez has a passion for this club that isn't easily replicated. And even though his fitness is a concern, and he shouldn't be asked to play 90 minutes or even start every match, he will still bring the attacking instincts we loved here for three years.
The question of whether or not to trade for Gomez also comes down to this: What other options do we have? Neither Fred nor Quaranta should be expected to be our starting center midfilder. We'll have a huge hole in our offense if we cut Gallardo loose without replacing him with another skilled CAM, and Gomez may be the only available option.
The departure of Gallardo should signal an admission by the front office that the previous offseason was a complete failure, because Gallardo will be the 5th of our 5 foreign acquisitions to be dismissed.
And the re-signing of Gomez should signal a return to normalcy. And maybe a return of the consistency we enjoyed in 2006 and 2007 that was so sorely lacking in 2008.