Dan Friedkin's takeover of AS Roma is expected to become official as soon as August 17th, at which point the Giallorossi will officially begin the latest chapter in their nine decade history. Whether that chapter will include large scale sweeping changes to the organization remains to be seen, but as we've cautioned all along, when someone pays €591 million to purchase a football club, we can't rule anything out; a new boss means a new vision, which may also mean wholesale changes to Roma's football and business operations.
In addition to being a solid and responsive football coach, Paulo Fonseca is an intelligent and affable man. He speaks multiple languages, has the respect and command of the locker room and is easily one of the best dressed managers in Italy. One thing he is not, however, is a Friedkin hire.
If Paulo Fonseca is replaced as Roma manager, it will be through no fault of his own, but one can't help but notice that the Mauricio Pochettino to Roma rumors are picking up steam as we head towards that August 17th takeover date. Pochettino, who has managed with Espanyol and Southampton in the past, hit his stride with Spurs, leading the London-based club to a runner's up medal in the 2018-2019 Champions League but has been out of work since last November.
Of course, if Roma do change managers they'll need to hire a new Director of Sport first, someone who can work hand in hand with Pochettino to guide Roma's latest project. And according to multiple outlets, Roma are eyeing Barcelona's Ramon Planes, who is currently Barca DS Eric Abidal's right hand man; Planes also worked Pochettino at Spurs during the 2014-2015 season and could arrive in Rome even if Pochettino does not.
Chances are we'll have much more clarity on these matters after August 17th, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from churning. Regardless of who is calling the shots at Trigoria, Roma will likely bring in a central defender to replace Chris Smalling and possibly Federico Fazio, as well as new goal keeper to (hopefully) replace the disappointing Pau Lopez.
To that end, RomaNews passes along a report that the club are interested in Cagliari's goalkeeper, 26-year-old Alessio Cragno, who made 16 starts for Cagliari after recovering from shoulder surgery at the start of the season. Cagliari may not be primed to sell Cragno at the moment, but there is a lot of transfer overlap between the two clubs, as Cagliari are reportedly interested in Juan Jesus, Robin Olsen and even Alessio Riccardi, who would presumably be loaned to Cagliari for seasoning, so there may be room for a deal between the two clubs.
In defense, the fictional Planes and Pochettino partnership could be gifted 28-year-old Armando Izzo upon their arrival. The Torino defender has been linked with Roma multiple times in the past, but with a Smalling deal out of their grasp at the moment, and with another target, German Pezzella, likely remaining with Fiorentina, Izzo could jump the queue and find himself slotted alongside Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez next season.
These are just a smattering of the current rumors as we head into the weekend, but expect the dominoes to start falling into place after August 17th. Logic would dictate that making large scale changes with barely a month before the new season begins isn't the easiest path forward, but once the Friedkin Group are officially and completely in control of the club, they are free to begin implementing their vision for Roma.
But what should Roma do: opt for continuity and give Fonseca another year or possibly take a short term hit and bring in a new manager immediately, despite the lack of a pre-season?