Earlier this week, we discussed the rumored ultimatum offered to Roma headman Eusebio Di Francesco: turn this thing around over the next two matches or see yourself out the door. While EDF guided Roma to the semifinal of the Champions League last season, and did enough domestically to ensure they’d be in this season’s competition, his tenure, brief though it may be, has been rife with controversy. Well, maybe not controversy in the strictest sense, but his hiring wasn’t universally praised, to put it lightly, so that two-match prove-it-or-lose it edict wouldn’t be that shocking.
But let me repeat that in case you missed it: he lead Roma to the semifinals of the Champions League. The semifinals. However, as his detractors are quick to point out, EDF’s biggest accomplishment received a helping hand from a series of away goals leading up to their ill-fated encounter with Liverpool last spring. Still, EDF orchestrated a comeback for the ages against Barcelona prior to that, making his Champions League campaign a study in contrasts; ingenuity buttressed by fine print.
Combine that with the dramatic dip in league goals and points Roma suffered during his first season at the helm, and you’ll find our current quagmire; a club desperate to join the higher ranks and a fanbase starved for real success. Seldom to people question Di Francesco’s actual coaching aptitude, but his fitness for this particular job has become a subject of hot debate around the Romasphere; it’s almost as if EDF were a good but not great contractor (or builder for our British friends) who has all the framework and joists laid out for that new deck, but he can’t the actual decking to line up, while his railings are crooked and uneven. In a word, he simply can’t finish the job.
So, with cries for his head ringing out from nearly corner of the Olimpico, it appears the man who hired him may indirectly save his job. If the rumors prove true, Monchi, according to Il Messaggero, would resign from his post as Roma’s director of sport if Di Francesco is indeed sacked.
Now, odds are this story/rumor is completely baseless, but it does open up an interesting line of questioning or suppositioning. Would Monchi follow EDF out the door in an act of solidarity? Would it be a principled stance against James Pallotta’s interference? Would Monchi really give up after only two years on the job—would he really have left his heart and home in Sevilla to turn tail so soon?
I’m not sure I’m buying this story—it never seemed to me that EDF was even his first choice to lead the team—but if this actually came home to roost...oof, that could be disastrous for Roma.
Changing managers for the...give me a second...seventh time since taking over, not to mention hiring your fourth DS, could be the death knell for Pallotta’s vaunted “because it’s fucking Rome” experiment.
Whether or not that’s a bad thing...well, that’s a matter for even greater debate.