Despite the traditional radio silence from Roma during their managerial search, rumors, half-truths, and rumblings have been pouring out of the city of Rome regarding the Giallorossi’s hiring process. First it was Antonio Conte. Next, it was decidedly not Antonio Conte, with the tactician telling the Gazzetta Dello Sport “Today, the conditions are not there, but I think one day, sooner or later, I will go and coach Roma.” Now the name of the moment is Maurizio Sarri, with Roma supposedly willing to match the former Napoli man’s current salary at Chelsea.
Despite all the reasons that signing might make sense (Chelsea’s transfer ban, a return to Italy for Sarri, Italy’s attempts to bring Italian talent back to the peninsula via tax writeoffs), there is another name who fits better with the goals Roma’s management have set in the past few years. Current Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini, who has led that typically mid-table side to the verge of Champions League qualification, may just be the man for the notoriously hot seat at Trigoria. This suggestion doesn’t come out of nowhere; Corriere Dello Sport has recently reported that even if Atalanta make the Champions League, Gasperini is eager to use his success with La Dea to take his career to the next level.
Why would Roma want Gasperini? Well, the most obvious reason is his excellent time with Atalanta, both in terms of placement in the Serie A table and in terms of his ability to take young talents and transform them into stars. Second, one of his former pupils, Bryan Cristante, is already plying his wares at the Stadio Olimpico. Cristante has performed reasonably well this year for i Lupi, but nowhere near his twelve-goal explosion during his last season with Atalanta. Considering how much money Roma threw at Atalanta to secure Cristante’s services, pairing him up with the manager who unlocked his undeniable talent certainly isn’t the worst idea. Add in the fact that Roma will most likely look to take advantage of their Italian renaissance at the youth and senior levels, and Gasperini certainly seems to be a logical choice for next season.
Of course, if hiring Gasperini has this many potential positives, there has to be a couple reasons why the man hasn’t already started apartment shopping in the EUR neighborhood. On his side of the equation, why mess with success? Atalanta look to be heading to the Champions League this year, he’s beloved by the Atalanta fanbase, and he has a decent working relationship with Atalanta’s president. Roma, although definitely a bigger club, may not reach the Champions League this year, and even if they do, the disparity between expectations and the tools given to achieve those expectations is quite large in the Eternal City.
For Roma, beyond the obvious cachet of hiring a Conte or a Sarri over Gasperini, one reason that Pallotta may be hesitant to pull the trigger on this signing revolves around why Gasperini is still managing a side like Atalanta in the first place. The last time Gasperini was handed the reins at a big Italian club, he was sacked in the September of his first year following a run of five winless games. If Gasperini cracks under the pressure of working for a big club again and pulls a reverse Rudi Garcia, the howls that currently hound Jim Pallotta and the rest of Roma’s management would only grow louder. Pallotta must know that he’s running dangerously low on public support at the moment, and a mistake of that scale might even make Monchi’s mistakes look minor by comparison.
Gasperini is the right choice for Roma moving forward, but make no mistake: he is a high-risk, high-reward choice. If Gasperini is able to take what he’s learned at Atalanta and apply it to the Giallorossi, Roma may once again find herself fighting for the Scudetto and making a name for herself in the Champions League. If not? Well, Rome’s had a famous fire before; we just need to make sure someone hands Pallotta a fiddle.
Is Gian Piero Gasperini the right manager for Roma?
This poll is closed
Yes, he’s proven himself at Atalanta.
No, I want Maurizio Sarri.
No, let’s just keep Ranieri.