Since we spent the morning discussing Roma’s soon-to-be-but-maybe-not managerial vacancy, we might as well keep the train rolling. While it was always a long-shot, it seems absurd to think that, at just this time last week, we were arguing about who would be the better fit for Roma's bench: Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. And now, well, after Conte backhanded Roma in the worst way and Mourinho has seemingly side stepped the Roma conversation all together, here we are: weighing up options c through z.
Jimmy laid out some pretty solid reasons why Roma should pursue Gian Piero Gasperini earlier today, and while I'm not here to argue anything counter to that, we have to face facts: as presently constituted, Roma may not be as attractive an opening as we'd all like to think. Conte rejecting Roma is one thing (an expected thing) but Gasperini turning his nose up at us might be too much to bear.
With Pallotta swinging and missing on established big game managers, it's looking increasingly likely that Roma will once again be forced to go the up and coming route. From their very first hire, Luis Enrique in the summer of 2011, the American regime has tended to opt for younger managers looking to make a name for themselves, a pattern that seems very likely to repeat itself this summer.
#SPAL Coach Leonardo Semplici has emerged as a new candidate to lead #ASRoma next season, after Antonio Conte turned them down https://t.co/q2lqBo1YjZ #SerieA pic.twitter.com/mB0GsAPglR— footballitalia (@footballitalia) May 9, 2019
According to Tuttomercatoweb, Roma are compiling a list of alternative candidates, and while the Franco Baldini-recommended Laurent Blanc would seem to be perched atop that list, don't count out SPAL headman Leonardo Semplici, who fits the up and coming profile to a tee.
Semplici, 52, has managed SPAL since 2014, ushering The House of Este to Serie A last season, ending a near half-century absence from the top flight. While Semplici very narrowly avoided relegation last season, staying above Crotone by a mere three points, he has SPAL rolling this year.
With 42 points through 35 matches, SPAL are comfortably assured of another season in the top flight. Relying primarily on a 3-5-2 formation this season, Semplici’s SPAL side has had some surprising punch, cracking 39 goals thus far (including four against Roma), good for 12th in the league. Semplici has had a profound impact on Andrea Petagna as well, as the former Milan man has registered 15 goals in all competitions.
If all that sounds a bit too familiar, well, there's good reason: Semplici is a tad EDF-esque, at least in his backstory. Taking a small club up to the topflight after a long absence, then keeping them there, forging some noteworthy upsets in the process and making a menace out of former top prospects was practically EDF's m.o. at Sassuolo.
These are surface similarities of course, but as we mentioned at the outset, Roma has been tempted by CVs like that in the past, so don't be shocked at all if Semplici becomes a legitimate candidate for this position.