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Conte Reportedly Meeting With Petrachi at Torino Match

An innocent meeting of friends or a diabolical plan to reform Roma?

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Several months ago, when discussing Roma's potential future ex-manager, we threw Antonio Conte into the conversation because, well, why not? With his bridge completely burned at...uh...Stamford Bridge, and with few other viable mega-club openings for Conte, it was, if nothing else, somewhat plausible that he'd at least be interested in considering possibly taking the Roma job.

And if that prior sentence seems wishy washy or has too many clauses, well, that was intentional. I mean, this is Antonio Conte we're talking about. There aren't many managers in the game today who can match his winning ways, but even if there were a one-in-a-thousand chance of landing him, it was worth discussing.

But then something funny happened: Roma's odds started to improve. With Roma searching high and low for a new Director of Sport (just don't tell Ricky Massara), they appear to have landed on Torino director Gianluca Petrachi, who just so happens to be a close and personal friend (and former Lecce teammate) of, you guessed it, Antonio Conte.

By most accounts, that would still be a somewhat flimsy basis on which to give this rumor credence, but then just this past week word broke that Roma reps have met with Conte's agents not once, not twice, but thrice!

So far had that rumor advanced, it was widely speculated that Roma were prepared to offer Conte a three-year deal worth nearly €30 million. This pact, so it goes, would also give Conte virtual free reign in all transfer decisions, a freedom he has never been granted in his prior stops.

Still, despite that cash and autonomy, Roma will/would face stiff competition for Conte, as everyone from Inter Milan to AC Milan to Juventus and even Manchester United, for whom Conte is reportedly stalling, are reportedly making overtures for his services.

But then this happened...

According to Il Tempo, Conte will be in attendance at today's Torino-Milan match, one that has huge implications for Roma's fourth place ambitions, to meet with his old pal Petrachi, who, it should be noted, is not actually a Roma employee yet either.

So, is this just a friendly catch up between old pals, or the world's most transparent wink-wink/nudge-nudge meeting between two guys who will, in a matter of weeks, care nothing of Torino.

Signing Antonio Conte would be Roma's biggest signal of intent in the American era, and with several large clubs after him, I would expect every minutiae of his life to be dissected over the next few weeks.