You’d be forgiven if the forcing out of Daniele De Rossi distracted you from the fact that Roma was in the middle of a manager search. Don’t worry, though, because despite all the hullabaloo surrounding that ignominious departure, the wheels of the club have kept on turning. Radio Radio is now reporting that current Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini has agreed to terms with the Giallorossi, signing a three-year contract netting him €2.5 million a year plus bonuses.
I recently did a rundown on why signing Gasperini would make sense for Roma going forward; given that, I hope you’ll excuse me for quoting myself:
Why would Roma want Gasperini? Well, the most obvious reason is his excellent time with Atalanta, both in terms of placement in the Serie A table and in terms of his ability to take young talents and transform them into stars. Second, one of his former pupils, Bryan Cristante, is already plying his wares at the Stadio Olimpico. Cristante has performed reasonably well this year for i Lupi, but nowhere near his twelve-goal explosion during his last season with Atalanta. Considering how much money Roma threw at Atalanta to secure Cristante’s services, pairing him up with the manager who unlocked his undeniable talent certainly isn’t the worst idea. Add in the fact that Roma will most likely look to take advantage of their Italian renaissance at the youth and senior levels, and Gasperini certainly seems to be a logical choice for next season.
Of course, if hiring Gasperini has this many potential positives, there has to be a couple reasons why the man hasn’t already started apartment shopping in the EUR neighborhood. On his side of the equation, why mess with success? Atalanta look to be heading to the Champions League this year, he’s beloved by the Atalanta fanbase, and he has a decent working relationship with Atalanta’s president. Roma, although definitely a bigger club, may not reach the Champions League this year, and even if they do, the disparity between expectations and the tools given to achieve those expectations is quite large in the Eternal City.
For Roma, beyond the obvious cachet of hiring a Conte or a Sarri over Gasperini, one reason that Pallotta may be hesitant to pull the trigger on this signing revolves around why Gasperini is still managing a side like Atalanta in the first place. The last time Gasperini was handed the reins at a big Italian club, he was sacked in the September of his first year following a run of five winless games. If Gasperini cracks under the pressure of working for a big club again and pulls a reverse Rudi Garcia, the howls that currently hound Jim Pallotta and the rest of Roma’s management would only grow louder. Pallotta must know that he’s running dangerously low on public support at the moment, and a mistake of that scale might even make Monchi’s mistakes look minor by comparison.
Gasperini is the right choice for Roma moving forward, but make no mistake: he is a high-risk, high-reward choice. If Gasperini is able to take what he’s learned at Atalanta and apply it to the Giallorossi, Roma may once again find herself fighting for the Scudetto and making a name for herself in the Champions League. If not? Well, Rome’s had a famous fire before; we just need to make sure someone hands Pallotta a fiddle.
Believe it or not, but not much has changed on why Gasperini would be the right move for Roma in the past seven days. As for why he reportedly signed on right now, well, he’s been deservedly fuming for the past day about losing the Coppa to Lazio; what better way to get back at Lazio than to sign for Rome’s better club and use next season to put them back in their place?
We’ll have more to come on Gasperini’s hiring when it becomes official, but let’s hope that the Italian tactician is the right man to help Roma enter the post-De Rossi era.