After a once again disappointing game in Plzen, Di Francesco seems to be running out of ideas. The pressure is mounting, meetings between Monchi and Pallotta, another ritiro,... It all doesn’t bode well for Eusebio but I think it’s pretty clear now something has to change in Rome.
A mentality change, tougher training, media silence, fines, whatever. The perhaps ‘easiest’ or quickest way would be to hire a new trainer. The shock effect. After all, it’s the most popular way in football. You can’t fire 25 players so the cheaper the better. Jimmy said not so long ago EDF’s job was safe, but we all know that’s bullshit and just to calm things down in Rome. A draw, or God forbid loss, against Genoa will be the end for Eusebio. It has to be.
And rightfully so. We shouldn’t and mustn’t forget what Eusebio did for the club, but you can’t dwell on that CL semifinal for years and years. Otherwise Capello or Spalletti would have still been here due to their successes in the past. We can’t risk dragging the club even deeper in the abyss or undermine its (near) future.
So here we are at Chiesa, discussing the names who should succeed EDF. Conte, Montella and Sousa are the most common ones. There’s Zidane, Giampaolo. And Sampaoli, Wenger. Some romantics also mentioned Bruno Conti or Alberto De Rossi.
However, there’s (next to Conte but he’s a pipe dream anyway) only one name that makes me fuzzy and warm inside: Laurent Blanc. Le Président.
Blanc has an impressive track record in football, not only as a coach but as a player as well. Napoli, Inter, Barcelona, Manchester United and Marseille are no small teams. Don’t forget he was massive for the French national team as well between 1989 and 2000.
As a coach he led Bordeaux to a first title in ten years and also a second place finish and one French cup. In the CL campaign of 2009-2010 he topped a group with Juve and Bayern, without losing one group match. His Bordeaux side eventually reached the quarter-finals that season. Mighty impressive.
In 2010 he took over the French NT from Domenech, which was an even bigger mess than Roma right now. He qualified for Euro 2012 and France lost to winners Spain in the quarter-finals. They didn’t become European champions, but Blanc did introduce a new vibe around the national team, including fresh ideas, positivism and more enthusiasm than his predecessors. You could even say he led the foundations for the nation that reached the Euro 2016 final and won the World Cup in 2018.
In 2013 Blanc joined PSG and gathered 11 prizes in three seasons including a domestic treble twice in a row. Perhaps PSG is not the hardest club to win things, but Ancelotti does this for more than ten years now and he’s still loved by Roma fans so I don’t see the big deal here.
To put it simple: Blanc is a winner. Wherever he goes, he wins. Bordeaux fans adore him because of that magical 2009 season. People in France praised him for his work with the national team and introducing a new generation like Benzema, Lloris, Giroud and Nasri. PSG hailed Blanc as a man who ‘left a significant mark on the great history of PSG’.
He never managed a team outside of France but thanks to his spells at Napoli and Inter as a player, he has some experience in Italy as well. Blanc may be aiming for a new challenge soon and Roma can be just the right team at the right time. He can work with a tight budget (see Bordeaux) and he can change the atmosphere in an instant (see French NT). He’s a winner (see PSG) and also surprised on the European stage (see Bordeaux).
At the age of 53 he’s only four years older than Eusebio and still has a long career as coach ahead of him. A winner of both the European Championships and the World Cup, Blanc is a coach with international prestige, a guy who commands respect from young players. When he talks, other people listen.
The best part of this all? He’s a free agent nowadays.
Now, of course I can praise Blanc to heaven and back, yet it means sh*t if dear Laurent won’t come to Rome. A good offer and an intriguing project could lure him to the Capital, but then Pallotta and Monchi need to fully support the move and stop the annual exodus at Roma. Offload the waste but keep your best players and rebuild. Show Blanc the money and let him work his magic.
Well that or keeping the faith in EDF for another week or month. But how long until the tifosi really start an uprising? How long can Monchi calm down the crowd?
If this weekend EDF draws another blank, it might be the perfect time for…. Blanc.