Apparently a blank check can't cure all. Just last week, when discussing the numerous options available for Antonio Conte in his return to Italian football, we passed along word of the reported carte blanche offered by James Pallotta in an effort to lure Conte to Roma's soon to be vacant manager's bench. With Conte fielding offers from Inter Milan, AC Milan and reportedly Juventus and even Manchester United, Roma had to do something to standout from the crowd, and giving Conte full control over the product on the pitch seemed like the ace up Roma's sleeve. After all, what manager wouldn't want that kind of power?
Well, what seems like a honey of a deal for Conte is reportedly not enough to erase whatever skepticism he may have of joining Roma, skepticism that may be fueled in part by his distrust of James Pallotta.
Our friends over at RomaPress have picked up on a story/rumor from La Republicca that claims Conte is wary of joining Roma due to Pallotta's, umm, general demeanor over the past few years and his "managing of his former colleagues” (per RomaPress).
While neither outlet speculated at exactly what Conte meant, nor can I currently find the original piece from Republicca (their website and Twitter account are atrocious), we can only assume Conte caught wind of all of Roma's grand promises over the past several years, promises that have, to date, gone unfulfilled, and is therefore skeptical of hitching his future to a club notorious for stops and starts.
Without further context or details, we have to take this rumor for what it is: pure speculation. However, it does make a bit of sense, doesn't it?
Love him or hate him, when it comes to dealing with the press, James Pallotta is an open book, and while his bold claims and proclamations on everything from transfers to former players to other club presidents can garner support, they can just as easily be thrown back in his face by his detractors.
And if this rumor holds water—which we really have no way to discern whether or not it does—Conte may fall into the latter camp, as one who does not swoon at the sound of Pallotta's bombast.
Much of this piece, and indeed the story from which it stemmed, were written prior to Roma's late collapse against Genoa, a disaster that may make Conte to Roma even more of a long shot, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost.
Given Roma's lack of historical clout compared to the Milan sides, their best bet in landing Conte, aside from paying him a king's ransom, would be to cede all control to the former Juve man; let him pick the players and determine the prices, leaving Pallotta to simply sign the checks.
Of course, in that scenario Conte would be taking a gigantic leap of faith that Pallotta would be true to his word, which, well...you're a Roma fan, you finish that sentence.