AS Roma’s website released a statement from James Pallotta, summing up the last three days of Boston summit with sporting director Monchi. The bottom line from Pallotta: Roma collectively taking responsibility for the club’s poor season so far, and an indirect ultimatum for everyone to do better or find another club.
“I think it goes without saying that no one is happy with the results and performances of this season,” Pallotta said to Roma’s official site. “We talked openly and honestly about the issues to resolve immediately to get our season back on track.”
“We had a lot of straight talk and everything was put on the table for discussion,” Pallotta’s statement continued. “Our only goal is to do better in every respect and working all together, starting from me, onto the administration staff, the directors, Monchi, Di Francesco, our coaching staff, all the way to the players and everyone else at the club.”
“Together we’ve all failed to reach the high targets we set for ourselves this season and the ones we’ve focused on reaching in the last few seasons. We’re all working together to confront all of this. If anyone isn’t willing to be part of our collective team effort, then there’s no place for them at this club.”
So Who’s In Hot Water?
Mercato rumours will have you believe the Roma names most under threat going into January are Patrik Schick, Rick Karsdorp, Cengiz Ünder and Ivan Marcano. Monchi is reported to have gotten the green light to search for January reinforcements in both defence and attack to help Di Francesco’s side get back on track.
In attack, Mitchy Batshuayi continues to be linked with a move to Roma for the second winter running. It’s reported that if Roma cannot convince Chelsea to terminate Batshuayi’s loan in Valencia for a move to Italy, then Monchi will knock on Sampdoria’s door for striker reinforcements there instead. An unlikely deal to bring Gregoire Defrel back to Roma has been mooted, but why Defrel would ever agree to come back to Roma is anyone’s guess. Let the man enjoy his life where he’s clearly enjoying it right now.
Far more likely is the signing of Sampdoria’s 21 year-old Polish forward Dawid Kownacki, who was in red-hot Piatek-ish form at the beginning of last season but hasn’t started a single game for the Blucerchiati in 2018/19 after falling behind Defrel and Quagliarella in the pecking order. Kownacki can technically play all positions across the front line but has only ever played at centre forward in Serie A so far.
On the right wing, Monchi is reported to have make an informal request about Viktor Tsygankov. Could Dynamo Kiev’s Ukranian winger be the mythical left-footed right winger that Di Francesco has wanted all this time? It might cost Roma up to 20 million and a battle with Borussia Dortmund to get Tsygankov’s signature on the dotted line.
This move would either mean Diego Perotti leaving in January or an unlikely early departure for Cengiz Ünder, even though it’s fairly obvious the club will move on Ünder next summer anyway.
Last but not least, Gazzetta Dello Sport report that Monchi is looking at Brazilian defender Iago Maidana for defence to replace Ivan Marcano. Marcano seemed like a good signing on paper, but the Spaniard has done himself no favours with his performances in a Roma jersey so far.
The 22 year old Maidana really does look handy in every respect as far as Roma’s needs in the backline go, but we’ve said this just six months ago about Marcano so we’ll temper our expectations on this one; not least of all because Maidana himself told the press - just two weeks ago - that he believes he’ll be playing in Brazil for another year to try and play in the Copa Libertadores.
What About Eusebio Di Francesco?
It’s very likely he’s staying. There have been a few opinions on Roma Radio claiming that a deal with Paulo Sousa is already done and that EDF is a dead man walking. But I can’t remember the last time Ilario Di Giovambattista (the man guy behind this rumour) came through with a reliable source.
It only started to get serious when Alessandro Austini suggested EDF had a few games left before Sousa takes over. Austini is usually solid when he talks.
But picture the difficulty Roma have in making moves without EDF.
They can’t hire Montella because he’s not only EDF’s former clubmate but lifelong childhood friend. Club icon Francesco Totti publicly backed Di Francesco midweek after the Champions League draw, putting paid to rumours that Totti was contacting Conte (as if Conte was ever going to happen). Federico Balzaretti and Morgan De Sanctis are said to be firm backers of EDF, and even Rosella Sensi weighed in this week to say she would be doing everything to keep EDF at the club if it were her family in charge, in the same interview admonishing Spalletti for deserting the club in 2009 where Eusebio Di Francesco has fought on.
EDF has the goodwill of everyone at the club, bar Franco Baldini who always sings his own tune (a tune that has saved the club from internal destruction in the past).
The frustration over the club’s direction right now is about results and winning games. The rest is really up to Di Francesco and the boys to address that, starting with the unenviable trip to Juventus Stadium this coming weekend.