Paulo Fonseca's epitaph as Roma’s manager hasn't been officially chiseled into stone yet, but the masons are sharpening their tools as we speak. Fonseca's supporters will point towards the unusual (and, in some cases, unprecedented) circumstances under which he's had to work since 2019 as reasons to continue with the 48-year-old manager—losing Nicolo Zaniolo for almost the entirety of his tenure as manager, the litany of injuries to Roma's older players, the change in ownership midway through his term and, of course, a deadly global pandemic—but after a string of disappointing results and with only 10 weeks or so left on his contract, the writing is on the wall.
Fonseca probably deserved better than this, but, to borrow a phrase from a classic film: Forget it, Paulo. It's Trigoria Town. Barring a miraculous run to the Europa League title, which would secure a birth in the Champions League next year and trigger an extension in his contract, Fonseca's days with Rome are numbered and dwindling fast and no amount of explaining away will save his job now.
And who exactly steps into that void has been (and will continue to be) the topic of discussion in the Eternal City. A few weeks ago, we took a rather tongue-in-cheek Tolkien-inspired look at the top candidates, a shortlist that included only four names, two of whom, Luciano Spalletti and Daniele De Rossi, were complete flights of fancy from yours truly, but it was a start.
However, as the season winds down and Roma's Champions League hopes grow ever bleaker, the field is reportedly narrowing down to two men: Maurizo Sarri and Max Allegri. Two title-winning managers seemingly eager to jump back into the managerial fray and each likely intrigued by Roma's new project.
But which man has the inside track to Trigoria?
https://t.co/VdiktdtZ9x TV - Parla #Muzzi: "#Allegri sceglierebbe la sfida della #Roma"— calciomercato.it (@calciomercatoit) April 6, 2021
Well, according to Calciomercato.it, Allegri may be emerging as the favorite, if for no other reason than he's actually up for the monumental task of turning Roma into a winner. While Calciomercato.it admits that Allegri's future is intertwined with Andrea Pirlo's at Juventus, insofar as he may return to the Old Lady if Pirlo is sacked, they insist that Allegri is intrigued by and open to the possibility of managing Roma.
They continue to speculate that Allegri would move to the Giallorossi despite their lack of Champions League football and would sign a three-year deal to turn Roma around. But, as Calciomercato.it warns, there is no deal in place, implied or otherwise, and even if Allegri doesn't return to Juventus, there remains the possibility that Real Madrid could snap him up this summer.
If that were indeed the case, they continue to posit that Sarri, whose agents have reportedly met with Roma GM Tiago Pinto multiple times, is equally up to the task and would sign on for a similar three-year stint in the Italian capital. In both instances, Calciomercato.it claims that each manager will require significant investments on the pitch in order to make their visions a reality.
With 10 matches remaining in the league, a difficult two-legged fixture against Ajax in the Europa League quarterfinals, and more injuries than you can count, it feels like a substantial portion of the fanbase have washed their hands of the 2020-2021 season and are eagerly anticipating silly season.
And, based on the current wave of rumors, we may be in for a whopper of a summer.