Rudi Garcia's future with Roma remains the hot topic surrounding this club at the moment, a trend only exacerbated by the Giallorossi's 6-1 embarrassment against Barcelona last week. However, truth be told, no matter how much you loathe Garcia and his stale tactics, barring some sort of incriminating photos surfacing, James Pallotta doesn't really have grounds to dismiss him yet. His tactics have been fresh enough to keep Roma in title contention for two plus season, though the argument certainly exists that they've won in spite of those tactics.
In essence, Garcia is the C+ student teetering on the brink; his grades haven't been so bad where his parents will make him quit the team, but he's not exactly on the valedictorian path either. It's an awkward and untenable situation in many ways, and if you believe the latest rumors, it's about to get a whole lot more uncomfortable.
La Gazzetta della Sport reports that Roma has booked/reserved/called dibs on Sassuolo manager and former Roma player Eusebio Di Francesco to replace Garcia if he fails to meet certain benchmarks the remainder of the season.
Di Francesco was a midfielder for parts of 17 seasons (an impressive feat in and of itself) in Italy, spending four of those years with Roma, including the club's now legendary 2001 Scudetto season. All told, Di Francesco scored 14 goals in 168 appearances for the Giallorossi.
After retiring, Di Francesco worked his way up the administrative and coaching ranks, serving as sporting director for Val di Sangro before taking his first full-time managerial position with Virtus Lanciano. From there, Di Francesco went to his hometown club Pescara before taking his first Serie A position with Lecce in 2011, who summarily sacked him after 13 matches.
From there, his story is pretty well known. Not only did he guide Sassuolo to their first ever top flight promotion, he's kept them there, and not only has he avoided the drop, he has the Neroverdi in 5th place only five points behind Roma.
All of this has, naturally, made him an attractive coaching candidate, a meteoric rise not lost on Roma. Per the Gazzetta:
For some time now, Roma have considered the familiar face of former Giallorossi player Di Francesco, and have asked the tactician to refrain from making commitments with Sassuolo beyond June.
While that's all well and good, I'm calling bullshit. Are we supposed to believe that Roma have not only decided to can Garcia (apparently without telling him) but have reached an agreement with a manager under contract with another team to jump ship and come to Roma if Garcia is indeed sacked.
Can't you just see it now? Garcia is sacked, Roma bypasses Ancelotti, Spalletti and whomever else because they think they have the next big thing locked up thanks to the always ironclad nature of verbal agreements, only to see Di Francesco stay on with Sassuolo?
I have no doubt Di Francesco can be a top manager and I don't think he needs an intermediary stop before levelling up to Roma, but something about this rumor seems incredibly flimsy, even by Italian standards.