Based on the sheer amount of coverage they've given Roma this spring, I can only assume L’Equipe have grown bored of Ligue 1 and French Football in general. But, with PSG about to lock down their sixth league title in seven seasons, not to mention winning four of the past five league cups, sports in France are apparently a tedious affair to cover at the moment, so who can blame them for shifting their eyes towards Italy?
L’Equipe, you may recall, have been the primary source driving the Qatari takeover of Roma stories, focusing largely on QSI's disappointment at PSG's European progress, or lack thereof, which may or may not have drawn the ire of the Emir of Qatar.
While that’s a slower moving story that will likely play out over months, L’Equipe hit us with another batch of Roma news on Star Wars Day:
As one would expect, pursuing Antonio Conte, a man synonymous with winning, was never going to be an easy undertaking, and with multiple suitors, many of whom can reportedly offer Conte more in terms of salary and transfer budgets than Roma, the Giallorossi may have turned their eyes towards Jose Mourinho.
According to L’Equipe, with Conte reportedly weighing a three-year offer from Inter Milan (who reportedly met directly with Conte last week), Roma have wasted little time in lining up their second choice, offering a three-year deal of their own to Mourinho.
Now, this is already a complicated mess of a story, but there are even more layers of intrigue and/or frustration at play here, so let's break them down bullet point style, shall we?
- Jose Mourinho will only come to Roma if they make the Champions League
- However, if Roma make the Champions League, Claudio Ranieri may have a strong case to stay
- Jose Mourinho’s only other big club option at this point is PSG
- PSG are still publicly backing Thomas Tuchel
- If Tuchel gets sacked, Roma should be an option for him
- Antonio Conte is considering Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan
- Conte met with Gianluca Petrachi last week, who may be Roma's DS soon
- Conte also met with Inter chief Beppe Marotta last week
- Inter has offered a virtually unlimited transfer budget
- Italian tax laws have changed to keep Italian talent on the peninsula, meaning Conte stands to make as much as €3 million more staying in Serie A, pushing his reported wages to €16 million per year
- Marotta asked Conte to wait before making any decisions
- Conte reportedly set a June 1st I'm-not-doing-anything-deadline late last week
- Oh, and Juve might also be in on both guys
See? It's a fucking mess, but what it boils down to is rather simple. Here we have three Italian clubs (Roma, Inter and Milan) all looking to reclaim some bygone glory, each of whom sees Conte as the ideal steward for those reclamation projections, with Mourinho likely the second option for all three clubs.
All of which means one thing: One club will be left holding the bag after June 1st, relegated to their third choice of a coaching candidate.
While none of this changes the fact that Antonio Conte remains Roma's number one choice, it does point towards a sense of urgency. Conte has the luxury of waiting, Roma may not.