While we're not privy to the inner workings of Roma's Mourinho Makeover, if we look at the moves they've made since appointing The Special One as manager in May, the first steps in this massive overhaul become evident: clear out what you don't want and keep what you do. There's nothing earth-shattering about that, but when you consider the sheer rate with which Roma has changed projects and approaches over the past decade, that seemingly simple plan becomes extraordinarily complex.
Roma GM Tiago Pinto has done remarkably well with the first part of that equation, clearing out redundant and unwanted players like Javier Pastore, Steven Nzonzi, and Robin Olsen, among others, through a series of late summer loans and/or contractual buyouts. While the club didn't save as much money as we'd all hoped, by clearing out the decks, Pinto created more breathing room than he otherwise would have had ahead of the winter 2022 transfer window.
The back half of that plan, identifying and securing the club's cornerstone players, has been slower to develop, particularly with the first domino: Lorenzo Pellegrini. However, after many months of negotiating, Roma finally locked up their captain through 2026, and that hard-fought deal has apparently whet Pinto's contract extension appetite.
According to multiple sources in Italy, Roma is lining up new deals for Gianluca Mancini, Jordan Veretout, and yes, even Bryan Cristante. In fact, Andrea Riso, the agent for both Mancini and Cristante, was in Trigoria to meet with club officials yesterday, presumably to discuss extensions for his two Italian internationals, each of whom is currently tied to Roma through 2024.
When taken with the news that Veretout's agent, Mario Giuffredi, has been holding similar talks with the club, the real pillars of Roma's Mourinho Makeover are starting to take shape. By locking up Pellegrini and potentially Cristante, Mancini, Veretout, and perhaps even Nicolo Zaniolo through 2026, the club is leaving little doubt about which players will lead the charge for Mourinho over the next several seasons.
But talking about plans is a lot different from actually having them. And while Roma was never shy about presenting their ideas, throwing around grandiose terms like project and Year Zero in recent seasons, they seldom had the patience and temerity to truly put these designs into action.
But little by little, Pinto and The Friedkin Group are chipping away at the mistakes made by their predecessors, embuing this latest makeover with more pragmatism than any of the well-intended but ultimately doomed plans of the recent past. When it became clear the club wouldn't retain Paulo Fonseca, Pinto and the Friedkins immediately identified Mourinho as their top choice and pulled out all the stops to sign him.
And rather than making promises they couldn't keep or purchasing players for the sake of it, Roma's leadership finally seems to be taking its time, working with their manager to carefully prune and cultivate a roster designed for long-term success. And a huge part of that process is identifying and keeping your core players, a task to which Tiago Pinto seems incredibly well suited.
Due to the pandemic and the various entanglements remaining from the prior administrations, Dan Friedkin's Roma remodel has been waylaid, but with the brains of the operation (Pinto and Mourinho) in place, the real work—turning Roma into a consistent winner—can finally begin.