I'm sure my morning Roma routine isn't too different from yours. After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I check Twitter and the usual news aggregators to see what's poppin’ in the Romaverse. Granted, most of the headlines revolve around Roma's never ending carousel of muscle strains and/or which players they're considering on the transfer market, but every now and then we get something unexpected.
Today was that day...
To say that Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri revolution hasn't gone as planned would be a massive understatement. While he didn't win any silverware during his time with Napoli, Sarri's brand of football was so explosive, so entertaining, and so successful (again, barring trophies) that he was seen by many as the next paradigm shifting manager. And taking that tactical talent and marrying it to Chelsea's virtually unlimited finances seemed like a match made in heaven.
With his once potent attack suddenly struggling, and with his tactics and substitution patterns becoming too predictable (check Twitter for "Barkley-Kovacic"), the free-wheeling and prolific attack that won him acclaim in Serie A has been sputtering lately—they've been shutout in three of their past seven matches.
Given all that, and their poor record in 2019 in general, Sarri's head is rumored to be on the chopping block. However, according to La Repubblica, the original source in the Tweet embedded above (the full article is behind a paywall at the moment), Sarri may already have another gig lined up...with Roma. A gig he reportedly discussed, if not being offered outright, during a London dinner with Roma adviser Franco Baldini and club president James Pallotta.
Now, I know what you're thinking, "Doesn't Roma already have a coach?” Yes, yes they do. However, according to La Repubblica, Di Francesco is "very likely” to leave at the end of the season, with Monchi reportedly following him out the door.
Now, we can take this any number of ways, but Roma has had ample opportunity to sack Di Francesco by now, and short of missing out on fourth place, I'm not really convinced they'll sack him. After all, qualifying for the Champions League in successive seasons is really Roma's best case scenario at this point, so if EDF can deliver that, there isn't really any footballing grounds on which to fire him
But, if we parse La Repubblica's words, or at least Football Italia's paraphrasing thereof, Di Francesco is likely to leave, not get sacked. Following that logic, perhaps it's a resignation that leads to Roma and EDF parting ways. Perhaps he's sick of the chaos, perhaps he doesn't think Roma is the right environment in which he can grow and succeed, or perhaps he's got a new job lined up...with Chelsea.
You may recall after last spring's miraculous run to the semi-finals of the Champions League that Di Francesco was connected to the Chelsea bench, and while that didn't obviously happen, EDF is, despite our kvetching, widely regarded as one of the game's up and coming managers.
So, other than it being a necessary consequence of the 24/7 news cycle, what do we make of these stories?
Certainly the prospect of teaming Sarri up with Roma's bevy of attacking talent is intriguing, but his ideas are notoriously slow to inculcate and Roma isn't...uh...exactly a patient place. But I fear it's the underlying portion of this rumor that should worry us—Di Francesco and Monchi leaving come summer.
For the first time in the American regime, Roma has a semblance of consistency. Losing both your manager and your director of sport in the same summer—a fate Roma has endured all too recently—is probably the last thing Roma needs right now.