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Pallotta and Petrachi at Odds Over Roma Future, Petrachi Could Exit

Never a dull moment for James Pallotta, with barbs pointed at him for declining Friedkin's latest offer and now a heated debate with his director of sport.

AS Roma Sport Director Gianluca Petrachi attends the press... Photo by Andrea Staccioli/LightRocket via Getty Images

I've been covering AS Roma for nearly a decade now, and even I'm surprised at the shit they get themselves into. And more often than not, the greatest source of drama in the Roma camp is the front office. From cycling through managers nearly every year to the parade of sporting directors and various “executives”the club has employed since James Pallotta took over in 2011 to the constant stadium delays (which isn't their fault), Roma seldom find themselves free from off the pitch drama.

And I suppose it's somewhat ironic that, after three months with no football whatsoever and ample time to upset the apple cart, the club saved the days prior to the re-start to kick up some good old fashion board room drama.

Earlier today, the Financial Times reported on the “dismayed” reaction some within the club had when Pallotta reportedly turned down a €575 million offer from Dan Friedkin last month. As you'll recall, the sale was nearly completed prior to the pandemic at a much higher rate, but Friedkin's last ditch offer in May, while lower than the original €750 million offer, would have covered the club's nearly €300 million in debt while also paying out nearly €13 million to cover the minority interests of the club.

Pallotta, of course, can do as he wishes with his club, but according to the Financial Times an advisor close to the club reported that several people within the Roma brass were “dismayed” by Pallotta's rejection of this offer. For his part, Friedkin is reportedly willing to re-open negotiations but may not increase his offer past the €575 million mark.

The Financial Times piece concluded with a refutation from Roma that said no revised offer was received and cast doubt on Friedkin's ability to complete the transaction.

Okay. I avoided this update this morning because, quite simply, this is just another micro-update in the pissing contest between two billionaires, but the Trigoria soap opera didn't end there....

According to multiple outlets, including SkySport and the Corriere dello Sport, Pallotta and current Director of Sport Gianluca Petrachi had an argument (or a “row” as our British friends call it) over the direction of the club and Petrachi's place within it, which, according to reports, stemmed from this statement on the club website where Pallotta thanked everyone in the club administration except for Petrachi.

This then spawned a discussion/argument between the two men over Roma's transfer strategy, which has been drastically altered now that the club will remain in Pallotta's hands. The debate was so heated that many in the Italian press suggest that Petrachi could leave the club at any moment—a rumor made juicier with the suggestions that Franco Baldini will assume a larger decision-making role, not to mention the fact that Morgan De Sanctis (a potential Petrachi replacement) turned down a job with Ascoli.

TL;DR Roma is a fucking mess as always (I'm not sure I buy the snubbed thank you portion, though), but this would seem exceptionally short sighted. With no Champions League revenue and debt weighing him down, Petrachi did a masterful job this summer, doing more with less than Monchi ever did during his disastrous tenure in the Eternal City. And for once in the American-era, it seemed like Roma's Director of Sport, manager and ownership were on the same page.

Stories like this sure don't give you hope for a fruitful summer, so let's hope cooler heads prevail.