The prevailing notion around Roma for the past several weeks (if not months) has been that Paulo Fonseca's future in the capital depends on whether or not he can steer the Giallorossi into next season's Champions League. However, with a run of poor form in Serie A this spring, including defeats to bottom dwellers like Torino, Cagliari, and Parma, winning the Europa League title has become Roma's only credible avenue to Champions League qualification in 2021-2022.
And while that's still technically possible, one look at Roma's putrid performances in recent weeks has likely destroyed any faith we had in a miraculous upset over Manchester United, who currently sit second in the English Premier League. If Fonseca can’t outwit the likes of Cagliari and Torino, what hope does he have against Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and the rest of the Red Devils?
The writing for Fonseca's departure from Roma has been on the wall for weeks now, and according to the Corriere dello Sport, the Giallorossi have already lined up his eventual replacement: 62-year-old former Napoli, Chelsea, and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri.
According to the Corriere dello Sport, Sarri's agent, Falai Ramadani, has been in contact with Roma GM Tiago Pinto, with the pair reportedly set to meet for further discussions this week. The Corriere reasons that Sarri appeals to the Friedkin Group (and vice versa, I suppose) because he's excited by Roma's crop of young talent and is reportedly eager to continue their development. Sarri's championship experience and familiarity with Serie A would also ensure a quick and smooth transition, according to the Corriere.
In a separate piece, the Corriere dello Sport continued to speculate what this Sarri and Roma marriage might look like. On the pitch, Sarri would transform Fonseca's 3-4-2-1 back into a more familiar 4-3-3, with a particular focus going towards upgrades at goalkeeper, striker, and full-back. While Rick Karsdorp and Leonardo Spinazzola would remain entrenched as starters, Bryan Reynolds will likely be loaned to a smaller club to gain experience while Bruno Peres will be allowed to leave on a Bosman this summer.
They continue to speculate what Sarri-Ball might look like in Rome, insisting that, apart from Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus, the core of the backline will remain intact, though they concede that Pinto will look to add a veteran for depth.
Moving into midfield, the CdS bangs the drum for the sales of Steven Nzonzi, Justin Kluivert, and Javier Pastore, among others, while Sarri's top priority for the midfield will be the acquisition of Jorginho, or a Jorhinho-like midfielder to complement Lorenzo Pellegrini and Jordan Veretout, among others.
And lastly, up top. While Sarri will welcome the return of Cengiz Ünder and Nicolo Zaniolo, a legitimate number nine to replace Edin Dzeko will likely be the top transfer priority. The CdS lists Dusan Vlahovic and Andrea Belotti as Roma's top targets, though they will certainly face stiff competition for either forward.
One final note, the CdS closes their piece by claiming Pinto will want to trim the roster size full stop. Rather than maintaining a senior squad of 28 to 30 players, Pinto would reportedly prefer a solid cast of 18 players with four Primavera players rounding out the matchday squad and presumably taxiing between the senior and youth levels as needed.
Until Roma officially announces that they're letting Paulo Fonseca leave come July 1st, all of this remains speculation. Well informed and logical speculation, sure, but don't be surprised if another Italian media outlet connects Jose Mourinho, Max Allegri, Luciano Spalletti, or Roberto De Zerbi between now and the end of the season, particularly if Roma get embarrassed at Old Trafford next week—that would likely push these stories into overdrive.
Maurizio Sarri as Roma's next manager makes you feel...
This poll is closed
Like you just found a bar that serves five-cent wings...and they're actually good!
Like you just drank spoiled milk
Nothing, bruh. I'm a Roma fan. I'm numb.