When Roma dispatched and/or accepted resignations of manager Eusebio Di Francesco and sporting director Monchi last month (at least I think it was last month, this team tends to warp one's sense of elapsed time), it necessarily threw Roma into turmoil. However, with Roma embroiled in the battle of their lives for Italy's final Champions League place, and with nearly daily rumors of new players coming in and disappointing ones going on, the quest to replace Monchi has sort of fallen by the wayside. This is quite ironic because it's the sporting director who, uh, directs sport...ing decisions.
All kidding aside, rumors of Claudio Ranieri's eventual replacement and the host of new players being connected or reconnected (Mehdi Benatia? Seriously?) are the proverbial cart being put before the horse; none of that matters until Roma locks down the man at the top of the pyramid.
For the sake of this story, we'll set aside the rumored Qatari takeover, which would make this whole puzzle infinitely more complicated, but for now it seems like a front-runner has emerged in the race for Roma's newest director of sport, current Lille mastermind, Luis Campos.
According to Il Messagero, Campos, Lille's 54-year-old director of sport, has been directly recommended to club President James Pallotta by his most trusted adviser, Franco Baldini. Campos, who has been both a technical and sporting director with Monaco and Lille respectively, is being considered for an undefined role with Roma, one that will have a ripple effect on the rest of the front office.
If Campos arrives as Roma's nominal director of sport, it would deal a significant blow to Francesco Totti's rumored aims on that position. If, however, Campos serves as more of a transfer consultant, then Totti may still have a chance at the corner office, so to speak.
That argument necessarily assumes the belief that Totti is being seriously considered for the DS role, a line of reasoning I don't buy and hope never happens.
Several weeks ago, we ran through the top candidates for Roma's DS post, hitting on everyone from Pier Ausilio to Federico Balzaretti, but at that point Campos wasn't really connected to Roma's hot seat, so let's do some quick introductions before we start picking this prospective move apart.
As we just mentioned, Campos has filled a variety of front office roles for clubs like Monaco and Lille, and was at one time a manager in the lower reaches of Portuguese football, even ending Jose Mourniho's 27 match unbeaten streak with Porto once upon a time.
So impressed with his knowledge of the game was Mourniho, that he tabbed Campos as his tactical analyst and scout with Real Madrid in 2012. From there, Campos made the switch to Monaco, first in an advisory capacity and later as the official technical director. During his time in the principality, Campos was able to sign João Moutinho and James Rodríguez from Porto and later Radamel Falcao from Atletico.
While Campos was blessed with a princely budget in Monaco, he showed a knack for spotting underappreciated (and undervalued) talents like Fabinho and Anthony Martial, the latter of whom only cost €5 million and was eventually sold on to Manchester United for a ten-fold profit. Campos would later bring Bernardo Silva and Tiémoué Bakayoko to Monaco, both of whom were sold for healthy profits not long after.
You get the point. Campos is, for all intents and purposes, the new Monchi; a guy who can unearth talent virtually anywhere in the world, pair them with the right manager and tactical system and then flip them for an enormous profit. However, unlike Monchi, Campos’ time with Monaco proved that he can be trusted with enormous budgets as well.
Campos’ fine form has carried into his current post with Lille as well, who are currently second to PSG for Ligue 1 honors, which is sort of like winning the league anyway, right?
All of these accolades haven't gone unnoticed around Europe, as Campos has been connected to some rather large clubs outside of Roma, namely Chelsea and Manchester United, so don't go pinning all your hopes on this rumor just yet.
Despite the sheer volume of these stories, it's tough to tell which domino will fall first: the stadium, the manager, the director of sport, or the Qatari take over.
It's an intricately arranged mess, that's for sure, and no one seems to know where the dust pan is.