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Antonio Conte Confirms Return to Coaching

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Could Roma be the project that "convinces him?"

Italian Football Federation ‘Panchina D’Oro’ Prize Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Depending on how Claudio Ranieri plays out the string on his interim tenure, Roma could, for the eighth time in the American regime and fourteenth time since Fabio Capello left town in 2004, be in search of a new manager. During his time in charge, club president James Pallotta has tended to favor younger, up and coming managers; your Luis Enriques, Rudi Garcias and Eusebio Di Francescos. While those men were not without their merits, at times their inexperience got the best of them and they were ultimately (for a variety of reasons) replaced with more familiar and comfortable faces; your Zemans, Luciano Spallettis and, well, Ranieri.

But what if Pallotta went a decidedly different route? What if, for once, he went whole hog and really spent top dollar on a proven, championship winning manager, one with intimate knowledge of the league and the current crop of Italian talent?

In a word, what if James Pallotta signed Antonio Conte, a man who has won titles in Serie A and the Premiership, to lead Roma?

As you can see, Conte recently appeared on the late night chat show, ‘E poi c’è Cattelan’, to discuss his future. As far as I can tell EPCC, as it's known, is the Italian version of Jimmy Fallon. In that interview, Conte plays a card game of sorts with host Alessandro Cattelan, a supposed Inter Fan, where they whittle down his likely destination from eight initial cards.

After weeding out seven cards, Cattelan places the final card, which is shown only to Conte, in an envelope, which Conte then signs. Presumably, he'll win the ratings war by having Conte on sometime around June 1st when he signs with his next club.

As far as the actual interview portion is concerned, Conte was rather tight lipped, admitting that he's returning to coaching but will only join a project that convinces him.

If Conte's recent managerial history is any indication, money is what ultimately convinces him. Both in terms of his personal salary and the club's respective transfer budgets, Conte was sitting pretty with Juventus and Chelsea, a luxury Roma cannot match.

Following that point, the skeptics among us will claim that Pallotta signed the likes of Enrique and Di Francesco purely because they were cheaper alternatives. That's not necessarily to say they were poor hires, but simply that, if we're being honest, wages and their (in)ability to make certain transfer demands were factors in their hiring.

Now, if you've read anything I've written over the past two to three years you're no doubt aware of my frustration with Pallotta's management of Roma, but if he can convince (and ultimately pay) Antonio Conte to come to Roma, I can't think if a stronger signal of intent from the club.

Conte may not always play the prettiest football, but he is an unabashed winner, claiming titles in Serie B, Serie A and the Premiership, as well as the 2017-2018 FA Cup.

So, when you talk about bringing in a champion, a guy who can single handedly change entire mindset of an organization, you're talking about Antonio Conte.

It'll be a long shot, but if they can pull this off, Roma's project may finally have a real architect.