The off-the-pitch coverage this time of year usually centers on the impending summer transfer market, but thanks to Roma's house cleaning earlier this month, we have the joy of scouring the internet to see not only who will be playing for Roma but who will be setting the lineups and recruiting the players in the first place. Another complete upheaval is probably the last thing the club needs, but for us rumor hounds, it’s like Christmas morning, as Roma's misery will once again satiate our curiosity; it's a win-win, except for, you know, the guys playing.
And on that note, just last week we ran through several of the top names likely to land in Roma's front office, a list that included Roma insiders and/or former employees like Walter Sabatini, Ricky Massara and even Federico Balzaretti but also some external candidates llike Inter Milan's Piero Ausilio.
While there has been precious little movement on the new DS front, Friday brings with it a fresh rumor: the emergence of Torino's Gianluca Petrachi as a leading candidate.
Petrachi has been shaping and molding the Toros since 2010, a span in which Torino climbed out of Serie B and into the Europa League in a span of three seasons. During that time, Petrachi recruited and/or flipped the likes of Andrea Belotti, Alessio Cerci, Bruno Peres, Matteo Darmian, and Ciro Immobile. Pretty impressive list all things considered.
After three successive mid-table seasons (12th, 9th and 10th) Petrachi once again has Torino on the verge of European qualification, as they sit only one point behind Atalanta for Italy's final Europa League spot.
Petrachi may not be the hottest name on the market, but he has a potential ace up his sleeve: his relationship with Antonio Conte. Folks around Italy are currently speculating that he could bust out of his Torino contract a year early, sign with Roma, and then leverage that friendship to land Conte as Roma's next manager.
As we discussed yesterday, the sudden dearth of glamour jobs has potentially put Conte on Roma's radar. He doesn't play the most eye-catching football in the world, but his track record speaks for itself: five league titles across Serie B, Serie A and the Premiership and two domestic cup conquests, the Suppercoppa Italiana and the 2017 FA Cup.
Hiring Conte would be a shot across the bow for James Pallotta; the biggest indication yet that he's serious about raising Roma's profile. The odds remain slim of course, but these are an intriguing set of dominoes; Petrachi has probably accomplished all there is to accomplish with Torino, so moving to Roma seems like the next logical step, and as far as Conte is concerned, making Roma a winner would pretty much sew up his resume among the all-time great managers.
Stay tuned, this will be a summer unlike any other.