Roma All-In On Antonio Conte Offer
Alfredo Pedulla continues his exclusive run on the Roma-Conte saga, reporting that the capital club are convinced they’ve done everything possible to sign the Scudetto-winning coach for next season.
James Pallotta is reported to be offering Antonio Conte ‘strategic carte blanche’ in shaping the team whichever way Conte pleases. Just what ‘carte blanche’ really means with Pallotta is open to anyone’s interpretation.
Said without bitterness and minimal prejudice: History shows Pallotta isn’t good for his word under pressure. We give Pallotta full credit for going for Conte, but he’s best advised to make sure he’s not just trying to sign the Salentino coach in name and reputation alone. The current state of Serie A suggests that signing Conte for its own sake won’t be the silver bullet the club is looking for; Conte would need a summer transfer campaign to back him up.
We’ve seen it with Napoli this season; the multiple-time Champions League-winning Carlo Ancelotti is struggling to show he’s come back to Italy to treat the Partenopei as anything other than a retirement home and a launching pad for his son Davide’s future head coaching career. As things stand, Napoli can win a maximum 5 points more than Roma did last season. No one saw the loss of motivation in this season’s Napoli coming at the turn of the year, now that they’ve been unleached from the ‘on-rails’ approach of former tactician Sarri.
The results of system-based coaches can often be diminished in the light of gestitori like Ancelotti and Conte i.e. the true man-managers of the game. But super-coaches don’t win without super-signings.
Just exactly what kind of blank cheque can Roma afford to hand over to Conte?
Rai Sport report the lavish promises have already begun with the agreement to hold onto Edin Dzeko for next season. The Bosnian’s salary goes counter to the club’s previous goals in reducing the current wage bill by 20%, but keeping hold of a legendary striker of Dzeko’s class is cheaper than anything Roma can realistically afford on the market in terms of like-for-like replacement.
So what stands in the way of Antonio Conte joining Roma? There have been some last-minute mentions of Inter Milan and Juventus’ interest, but both clubs parting with their current coaches seem - for practical reasons as much as anything - very unlikely. Meanwhile, not that Conte has mentioned a desire to coach anywhere but Italy for next season, but Tomas Tuchel has just extended his PSG contract until 2021.
It is pretty much a straight shootout between AC Milan and Roma for Conte’s signature. Weeks ago, we’d have said the odds of Conte sitting on the Giallorossi bench were marginal at best. Today, Roma may still not be clear favourites to land Conte but the odds certainly look better than chance.
Petrachi Taking Care of Formalities With Torino
TuttoMercatoWeb continue to report Gianluca Petrachi to Roma is a done deal in all but contract ink. Petrachi’s arrival as Roma’s next sporting director is independent of whether close-friend Conte becomes the next coach, and the latest public statements from Torino owner Urbano Cairo - “I believe Petrachi won’t go to Roma” - are thought to be just the necessary chess piece for Torino receiving maximum compensation from Roma for getting Petrachi out of his Torino contract a year early.
Petrachi is now expected to sort out his official parting of ways with Torino in-house, which could be as early as this weekend. But don’t be surprised if it takes until the end of the season, when the race for European places is finally settled.
Roma’s Extra Incentive To Keep Milan Out The Top Four
Calciomercato reminds us that Alessio Romagnoli’s current situation could work as an extra motivation to keep AC Milan out of the CL spots. Romagnoli was signed from Roma on an extravagant (at the time) 25 million euro deal, crucially with a 15% sell-on clause thrown into the deal.
Calciomercato speculates that a finish outside of the top four places would force AC Milan to put Romagnoli on the transfer market this summer. Assuming a megabucks offer comes in from Juventus, or any one of the global powerhouse clubs, then Roma would be smiling all the way to the bank.
Romagnoli has lived up to his promise as one of the country’s leading centre halves and, hell, Roma could actually do with a centre half or two for next season. Maybe the Giallorossi could just sign him back and pay themselves in the process?