Barring some sort of miracle over the next couple of weeks followed by a complete course correction throughout the New Year, Rudi Garcia isn't long for the Roma bench. It may not happen this month, but the smart money says the Frenchman won't be Roma's manager next season, if not sooner. Garcia's tailspin began in earnest a year ago and continued throughout the winter of 2015, when Roma drew 12 out of 20 matches; scraping out enough points to survive but falling well short of their lofty ambitions.
Those 365 + days of stagnation have left Roma in a curious state; they've remained in the European hunt and seldom dropped below third during Garcia's tenure--leading many to plea for further patience--yet instead of progress, results and achievement, we've been treated to a litany of excuses and half-hearted pep talks, which have increased the calls for his head.
It's an awkward and untenable situation for everyone involved, made worse with every new name connected to the still occupied manager's job. With everyone from Jurgen Klopp to Walter Mazzarri to Fabio Capello connected to the Roma bench, Garcia haters have no shortage of fantasy choices.
While these men, and others like them, are all well qualified to run the club, it takes a special stew to satiate the Roman appetite, and there is only one man out there who can ladle out this unique recipe, combining passion, nostalgia and tactical know-how into a hearty bisque capable of satisfying the discerning Roman pallet.
With Garcia's hold on the job becoming more tenuous with each passing week, rumors are circulating that Luciano Spalletti has let it be known that he is ready, willing and able to resume his role as Roma head man, a post he vacated in 2009. If the rumors hold true, which they seldom do, not only has Spalletti given his okay, but he's already been contacted by club officials and has gone so far as to turn down a presumably lucrative job offer in China.
Of course, this is all a matter of GIGANTIC speculation, but as we mentioned, Spalletti hits a lot of bullet points on your wish list for a Roma manager: experience in the league, a proven track record, and an ability/willingness to make adaptations; Spalletti is credited by many with "inventing" the 4-6-0 false nine formation during the 2007 season when Roma was effectively strikerless thanks to a rash of injuries.
Despite his hand being forced during that season, Spalletti is known for his adaptable 4-2-3-1, which enables him to make use of both traditional midfielders and wingers simultaneously without really wasting the skills of either, maintaining possession and opening up attacking lanes in the process. In that sense, were Roma to make a midseason managerial change, the transition would be relatively painless, as many of the pieces necessary to run that formation are already intact.
This lineup would enable Spalletti to field most, if not all, of Roma's most talented players at one time, while also providing a more direct line of attack to Dzeko. Furthermore, you can sprinkle in Francesco Totti for 45-60 minutes per match at any of the forward positions. The 4-2-3-1 would also allow him to pick and choose where to play Florenzi, who can conceivably cover four of those positions at any given time, while Iago Falque and Salih Uçan can plug in any gaps out wide or in the midfield, respectively. It's also an extremely Adem Ljajic friendly formation *ahem*
Carlo Ancelotti may be the pie in the sky option and Fabio Cappello would bring visions of 2001, but for all reasons—tactical, emotional and logical—Luciano Spalletti is the right choice to replace Rudi Garcia.
You know, "if" Garcia is replaced (wink, wink).