Managing AS Roma is, even under the best of circumstances, like walking blindfolded into a cobra pit. It may seem calm and serene at first, but it doesn't take long before the hissing and rattling begins (wait, do Cobras rattle?). And it's even worse when you weren't the first choice of cobra pit cleaners, and it becomes even more untenable when the guy who hired you in the first place up and sells the damn cobra pit to someone else entirely.
Paulo Fonseca, this is your life.
Whether it's fair or not, the odds makers are now taking bets on Fonseca's future in Rome, with many offering pretty fair odds the Man from Mozambique will be sacked before Christmas.
And you know what that means, don't you? It's time to dust off a CdT staple: The Future Ex-Roma Manager Power Poll: Paulo's in Trouble Edition. Just for fun, check out our last rundown from the spring of 2019 (below):
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the candidates mentioned in the press.
The Man With the Rings: Max Allegri
Massimiliano Allegri had a rather pedestrian playing career—13 clubs in 16 years, including two stints with Pescara!—but his record as a manager is beyond reproach. Allegri took up coaching almost immediately after retiring from the pitch, starting all the way down in Serie C2 with Aglianese in 2003, gradually working his way up the ladder before landing his first Serie A gig with Cagliari during the 2008-2009 season.
After two seasons in charge with Cagliari, Allegri made the leap to AC Milan, leading the Rossoneri for parts of four seasons, including a Scudetto-winning campaign in his very first year with the club in 2010-2011. While he failed to repeat the feat, he did keep Milan in the top three during each of his full seasons with Milan.
But then Allegri really strengthened his grip on Serie A, winning five-straight titles with Juventus between 2014 and 2019, cementing his status as one of Europe's most effective and successful managers. Known more for his flexibility than aesthetically pleasing football, Allegri is a winner, pure and simple.
Having been on the sidelines since 2019, Allegri has been connected to a host of jobs, including traditional titans Manchester United and the nouveau riche PSG, but it was an appearance on Dancing With the Stars that ignited the Roma rumors, as Allegri's non-comital response to coming to Rome has stoked these particular fires.
Combine that with the fact that the Friedkin Group have no sentimental attachment to Fonseca, and, well, there's your rumor.
Pros: He's a winner, he suits his tactics to his players and not the other way around.
Cons: He, uh, likes expensive players.
But he's not the only possible replacement making waves...
The Bill Parcells of European Football: Ralf Rangnick
Bill Parcels, the former Super Bowl winning NFL coach of the New York Giants, was famous for saying “they want you to cook the dinner, least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” This quote was a lament on the sometimes powerless position of a Gridiron coach, who isn't always able to select his players but nevertheless must mold them into a winning team.
Rangnick, the 62-year-old former manager of RB Leipzig, has a bit of Parcells in him, in so much as he's angling for a position in which he can both buy the groceries and cook the meals. He almost had it with AC Milan, only to see Stefano Pioli's temporary appointment become permanent with a solid run of results in the restart this past summer.
An acolyte of Arrigo Sacchi, Rangnick the manager favors the spectrum of high-pressing, ball-oriented four man back-line systems, but has shown the ability to adjust to the wind, using a 3-5-2 during his days with Leipzig. No matter the system, Rangnick stresses numerical advantages in defense, counter attacking in transition and quick, vertical passes through the attacking area.
Rangnick the director of sport has engineered a host of title and cup winning teams throughout the Red Bull organization, including honors in Austria, Germany and America; he even helped Red Bull's Brazilian club attain promotion last year.
Pros: Like Allegri, he's a winner and seems comfortable adapting his four-man tactics. And his experience with the RB organization proves he can build a winner from tip to tail.
Cons: He'll want a lot of roster-construction power and the Friedkins may not be willing to give up to just one man so soon in their tenure. And then there's always the question of a foreign coach succeeding in Italy.
He's There, Might As Well Put in a Call: Maurizio Sarri
You don't need me to run through his biography, but the chain smoking banker turned football manager has come a long way since his days as an amateur center-back, winning the Europa League with Chelsea in 2018-2019 and the Scudetto with Juventus last season. After failing to advance the Old Lady through the Champions League, Sarri was unceremoniously sacked on August 8th.
Sarri is a detail-oriented, attacking coach whose teams both entertain and excel. Whether you call it vertical tiki-taka or just “Sarri Ball”, his brand of football focuses on possession and quick, ground-based passing to progress up the pitch, as well as intuitive off the ball movement—and it works. Sarri's Napoli teams were always among the league's most prolific scoring clubs, including an astounding 94 goals during the 2016-2017 season.
Pros: He'll make the most of Roma's attacking players and, though it takes a while, he turns most clubs into winners.
Cons: Time. Sarri-ball is a notoriously slow to ingrain process, so it might not bear fruit until 2021.
If things get truly desperate and Roma couldn't land any of these names, Walter Mazzarri could be your break glass in case of emergency candidate. We could also mention Alberto De Rossi along those same lines, as he's seemingly always a last-ditch option for the club when they’re in trouble.
But, if we want to get truly wild, could Roma follow Juve's example and appoint a club legend with no experience to the bench? Could a Fonseca sacking open the door for a surprise appointment of Daniele De Rossi?
A boy can dream...
If Fonseca is sacked, who would you hire?
This poll is closed
Daniele De Rossi