The Max Allegri to Roma rumors, which started on Italy's version of Dancing With the Stars, may be the most damning indictment of the power and influence of social media and reality TV we've ever seen in the Romaverse. What started as an off-hand comment on the dancing-based reality show has, in the ensuing five days, become a full-fledged rumor. It doesn’t matter that no one associated with AS Roma has made public comments about Paulo Fonseca's job security, the mere fact that Allegri is jobless and provided such a non-committal answer to an unexpected question has been enough to give this rumor legs.
Yesterday, we did an informal power poll of the candidates most frequently connected to Roma's managerial post, which, again, isn't even available, but based on his sterling resume, Max Allegri topped that poll rather easily. With six Scudetti on his CV, his appeal to a struggling but ambitious club like Roma is obvious.
And whether or not there was a kernel of truth to his quip on Dancing With the Stars is irrelevant. The mere fact that a) he's available and b) Paulo Fonseca wasn't a Friedkin hire has given this rumor a shred of credibility—though we use that word loosely; there have been no public discussions about Fonseca's job security nor have Roma actually spoken to Allegri, as far as we know.
But, according to the Corriere dello Sport, Allegri may actually be open to the job:
GIANT GRAIN OF SALT ALERT: Despite speculating that Allegri, seemingly bored after almost two seasons out of football and with no contractual ties to any other club, may be open to coaching Roma, the CdS readily admits that there have been no contacts between Allegri and Roma's front office—an important point.
However, as the CdS continues to speculate, should Roma part ways with Fonseca, Allegri may be the best man for the job. Considering his resume, his free-agent status and his willingness to lower his salary demands, he may be an easy hire for Roma, and, unlike Maurizio Sarri (contractual issues with Juventus) and Ralf Rangnick (ambitions for a DS job), there are no impediments or ulterior motives potentially ruining this possible partnership.
All of which is to say: no one, no matter how well connected, has any idea what is going on with Roma and Paulo Fonseca at the moment. We chided Fonseca for his lack of substitutions in last week's draw against Hellas Verona (which is now a loss thanks to a clerical gaffe that incorrectly listed Amadou Diawara as an U-22 player), but when you consider the circumstances of that match—no Dzeko due to the lingering transfer concerns, no Marash Kumbulla because he just arrived, and with a limited bench due to fitness and/or health issues—it wasn't as damning as it may have seemed in the moment.
Furthermore, with Roma squaring off against the nine-time defending champions Juventus this weekend, I'm not sure an 0-2 start would even be grounds for dismissal, much less sharp criticism, of Fonseca.
Add it all up and Fonseca looks like pretty much every other Roma coach over the past decade: a victim of circumstances. Fonseca wasn't hired by Roma's current owners, and he was very likely the third choice of Roma's prior owners, but when you consider the circumstances surrounding his entire tenure thus far—multiple ACL injuries, a litany of muscle strains, the pandemic, the change in ownership—he's been dealt perhaps the worst hand of any Roma manager over the past ten years.
In the wake of the Diawara listing mistake, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Friedkin Group use that error as a springboard to launch an entire organizational makeover—and Allegri would certainly be an ideal coach to oversee a top-to-bottom renovation—but whatever comes to pass, we'd have to ask a difficult question: did Paulo Fonseca fail Roma or did Roma fail Paulo Fonseca?