Could it be? Could the management be really that simple and shortsighted? 'Oh, look, one popular Francesco has left the club, why don't we bring in another Francesco who also has a bond with the team and city?' Small detail, James and co: family names are not the same as first names.
We get it, the Americans want to make Roma great again and even though Spalletti has decided to leave the Eternal City with a bag of club records (and probably some kilos of hate mail as well), they have set their eyes on one man in particular: Eusebio Di Francesco from Sassuolo. In fact, reports in Italy say Eusebio seems rather close in becoming Roma's new trainer and the sixth man in charge of the Giallorossi since the Summer of 2011 (aka the start of US Roma). Only 3M separates a deal between both teams. 3M for heaven's sake. That's as much as Doumbia's contract. Damn, that guy keeps being a pain in the ass for this club, isn't he?
In all seriousness: I know this move isn't the dumbest thing Monchi & the management (hey, that sounds like a 70's disco band, no?) could do and therefore they should cough up the 3M without hesitation. Eusebio has a history with Roma, even bigger than Spalletti, Zeman or Capello when they arrived. Di Francesco was part of the Scudetto team of 2001, played almosy 170 games in total for Roma and was hailed for his hard work, stamina and leadership in midfield. A pre-2005 Nainggolan, if you'd like.
AS Roma was his only big club, the other ones were not that impressive: Ancona, Perugia, Empoli, Piacenza,... He won only one prize during his career and that was the Scudetto in 2001, alongside the likes of Totti, Aldair, Candela, Samuel, Batistuta, Cafu and co. That means you've got your name forever carved in the hearts of all Giallorossi fans.
However, being a trainer of that same club is a totally different beast. Just look at all the slack that Garcia, Zeman, Spalletti, Capello and Enrique got in recent years. Rome is not for the faint of heart. And yet, this is Eusebio's ultimate chance to show himself on the big stage. He has never managed a club this big or worked with players of the calibre Nainggolan, De Rossi, Dzeko and El Shaarawy. It's painful to not mention Totti's name in there, but sadly that's the world we live in now. One without our Pupone. Thank Romulus and Remus that Daniele decided to stay.
It's a smart move to aim for a guy like Di Francesco. After the departure of Totti, the fans are left with some kind of empty feeling. A void in their heart and minds. There's no real link between the city and club anymore. Okay, there's De Rossi and Florenzi but one's nearly 34, the other one has been injured 90% of last season and still isn't recovered.
While Eusebio isn't born in or around Rome (Pescara is close though and better than Milan or Turin), he knows what the colors means to the fans. The passion, grinta that we demand from those 11 players on the pitch. Eusebio was a fighter as a player, he can turn his players into fighters too. And hey, it would be nice to finally have a trainer again again who can use frikkin' subs before minute 85.
Ancelotti remains a pipe dream, Blanc, Emery and Tuchel are perhaps bigger risks because they haven't coached a single game in Serie A yet. Conte and Allegri succesfully guided Juve and Milan to the title and they came from Siena and Cagliari respectively. Spalletti did some amazing things at Udine, leading them into Europe. That's kinda like Di Francesco, who also led his Sassuolo from Serie B to the group stage of EL. Spal then joined Roma and the rest is history, it was one hell of a run under Luciano.
Italian managers who already know Italy and Serie A have an advantage over foreigners. Since 2001, only one foreigner has won the Scudetto: Mourinho. Simply put: Eusebio deserves a chance as well. At the age of 47 he's ready for that next step. With a competent sporting director and a bigger wallet to attract more talented players.
Of course, I can't forget Sassuolo's partnership with Roma as well. We all know they act as some kind of feeder club for us, and usually it works out fine for our talents: Antei, Mazzitelli, Politano and last but not least: Pellegrini. Probably Sassuolo's brightest diamond and destined to return to Roma, alongside Eusebio.
Di Francesco also left his mark on players like Defrel, Consigli, Acerbi and Berardi, players who could also be helpful to Roma. He improved them and thanks to him, they are now attracting interest from the biggest clubs of Italy. With the arrival of Di Francesco, AS Roma might have the upper hand during negotiations with all those names I mentioned. Of course Sassuolo won't sell half of its team to us, they're not that stupid, but two of Acerbi, Berardi and Pellegrini could be a start and give the club a much needed boost. Also important, it would also bring back the Italian flair and aura around the club.
Two eras are finished in Rome (Spalletti and Totti), will Eusebio's one begin soon? Can someone please rescind Doumbia's contract and get this man's signature?