In our little footballing world, there is no event more seismic than the sale of a football club. When a club changes hands, the fates of everyone involved with the club, directly or not, is impacted. The sites, sounds and spirit of the club can change overnight; and if you're lucky, they change for the better. Roma fans were about to experience this rebirth again with the impending sale of club to American businessman Dan Friedkin. But, with delay after delay during the best of times, we were left to wait and wonder: what would the club look like under Friedkin? How much would he invest in transfers? Was he able to settle all the clubs debts?
We can't really understate this point: Roma being sold for the second time in less than a decade was a monumental story. But, as we all now, we are no longer in the best of times due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which understandably knocked the Friedkin takeover to the back-burner.
With the sporting world on pause, it was only a matter of time before people started poking holes in this story: Was Friedkin still interested? To what extent will the pandemic impact the value of the club? Does Pallotta have a Plan B or is he going to keep the club beyond 2020?
We still don't have a firm answer to most of those questions, but RomaPress did some digging on the first point, speaking to a representative of the Friedkin Group.
So...is Dan Friedkin Still interested?
COVID-19 changed everything for us. Our analysts believe it could take a few years for our entire portfolio to recover
The interest in acquiring Roma remains — that’s not in question. But we still have to get an idea as to what the future holds not only here in the United States but also abroad
Obviously some important decisions must be made soon and they will be done in due course, but to say that the deal is ‘dead’ is wrong. Ryan (Friedkin) is especially enthusiastic about the prospect of acquiring Roma
Evaluations are still being made
That's probably about the best response we could hope for given the situation. Sure, they're interested; you don't invest the amount of time they did to only change course a few weeks later. However, the uncertainty about their “entire portfolio” and getting an “idea as to what the future holds” are a bit concerning. I don't doubt the veracity of those statements—just take one look at your local unemployment numbers to get a feel for the global economic environment—but they weren't as conclusive as fans tired of tracking this story probably hoped for.
Given that we're discussing a nearly completed nine-figure deal that was forced into limbo for the past six weeks, this is very likely intentionally ambiguous legal speak. But the Friedkin Group is right about one thing: we don't know what the future holds. Does such an enormous investment make as much sense now? Can they pull the trigger without having a firmer understanding of future revenues?
We'll keep updating this story, but would it surprise anyone to see this sale punted down the road a year?