The words 'Roma', ‘Sporting Director’ and even ‘manager’ seldom go hand in hand with the notion of job security. In the American Era alone, we've seen the club cycle through several sporting directors and an almost untold number of coaches. Whether it was do to poor results on the pitch or interpersonal conflict behind the scenes, the Giallorossi have seen more than their fare share of turnover in some of the most important positions in the organization.
Last summer, following the exits of Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi, Roma were once again tasked with replacing the club leadership in relatively short order. After chasing everyone from Antonio Conte, Jose Mourinho, Gian Piero Gasperini to man the touchline and being connected with a smattering of sporting director candidates including Federico Balzaretti, Ricky Massara, and Sven Mislintat, Roma settled on the duo of Paulo Fonseca on the bench and Gianluca Petrachi in the boardroom.
It wasn't their first-choice pairing, but once this duo got to work, the results looked quite promising. Kicking off his tenure with signings like Amadou Diawara and Jordan Veretout, pieces almost perfectly molded for his coaches tactics, Petrachi seemed to already succeed where his predecessors failed—linking purchases with purpose.
With a limited/Champions League-less budget limiting his options, Petrachi snagged a handful of veteran players looking to resurrect their careers (Smalling, Zappacosta, Mkhitaryan), while also making large outlays at goal keeper (Pau Lopez) and somehow making Roma a credible threat to sign Mauro Icardi.
Given the hand he was dealt, you didn't hear too many Roma fans complaining about their new sporting director's first summer on the job. Once the season started and the results started to come, it looked as if Roma had fallen backwards into success with the Petrachi-Fonseca pairing. They weren't likely to win anything during their first year together, but they seemed like an ideal slow burn combination, on that could flourish if given time.
Time, unfortunately, is not a luxury granted to Roma executives. With the club struggling in the new year, Petrachi has had...shall we say...trouble reining in his frustration, as he reportedly stormed into the club's locker room at halftime of their eventual 4-2 defeat to Sassuolo in early February, while his dealings with the press have grown more combative in recent weeks.
All of which has led to this:
In addition to those PR pockmarks, there is a belief that the club hierarchy weren't pleased with his work during the winter transfer market, namely his inability to shed the contracts of players like Javier Pastore, Juan Jesus and even Diego Perotti.
According to the CdS, this has led to rampant speculation about Petrachi's future with the club, which could come to an end this summer, if not sooner. Rumored replacements for Petrachi include Parma's Daniele Faggiano, Atletico Madrid's Andrea Berta and, as we discussed late last week, Juve's Fabio Paratici.
Of course, all of this talk is further escalated but the impending Friedkin takeover. On the surface, Petrachi hasn't really done much to warrant being pushed out of the club, especially not when you consider the mess he inherited from Monchi and the club's lack of Champions League cash, but these rumors (as well as those bubbling beneath the surface about Fonseca) lend credence to the belief that the Friedkins will clean house whenever they take control of the club.
This seems like an incredibly unjust end for Petrachi, but with so much tumult surrounding the club, he may wind up being one of many victims come summer.