New Years' Resolutions used to be a staple of our January coverage, but we've dropped the ball over the past few years, so I suppose, if nothing else, we should resolve to make more resolutions. It's been four years since we decided to hash out a New Years' plan for the Giallorossi, and while many things have changed for Roma since then, check out that 2019 list, and you'll see many of our concerns remain the same.
Despite that symmetry, at the dawn of 2023, Roma boasts arguably the most famous manager in the history of the sport and one of its most gifted playmakers in the forms of José Mourinho and Paulo Dybala, respectively. So, while many surface concerns remain the same, the Friedkin family has made significant strides in their quest to boost the club's profile.
However, with Roma mired in 7th place, we're not out of the woods yet, so here are a few resolutions we'd like to see the Giallorossi accomplish in 2023 and beyond.
#1: Get a Striker That Can Score Consistently
After watching Edin Dzeko struggle in the waning moments of his Roma career, the club cast a wide net in their search for a successor to the Bosnian Batistuta. From Arkadiusz Milik to Mauro Icardi and even Gonzalo Higuain, the Giallorossi looked far and wide for a new number nine, only to come up empty-handed.
Upon taking the job, one of Mourinho's first orders was to bring Tammy Abraham to the capital. And with 27 goals in all competitions last season, Abraham rewarded Mourinho's faith, but the 25-year-old striker has fallen on hard times this year, scoring only four goals in approximately 1,400 league minutes.
Abraham suffered through a similarly poor start last year before coming on in the spring, so there is hope he can turn it around. Still, if Tammy Two Goals can't recapture that spark, the club may be forced to return to the well once more, desperately searching for Dzeko's heir apparent.
#2: Reclaim Their Place as The Best-Dressed Club in Football
Roma's brief dalliance with New Balance hasn't been a total disaster, but their two-year run as Roma's kit supplier will quickly be forgotten by playing it safe with their sartorial choices. Whether they had Kappa or Nike stitched across their chest, the Giallorossi's kits were the envy of the footballing world for most of the 21st century—and it's high time they retake that throne.
With a new Adidas partnership in the offing for the '23-'24 season, Roma and the German giants have a chance to make a statement this fall. Let's just hope they do better than the initial Italy leaks, which are decidedly bland.
#3: Make a Run in the Europa League
Yes, they barely survived the group stages, but cast your mind back to August for a minute, and what were we saying about Roma's chances in the Europa League? With the Conference League title in their back pockets, Paulo Dybala aboard, Lorenzo Pellegrini hitting his stride, and Nicolo Zaniolo back in the fold, Roma were considered among the favorites to take home the EL crown.
I'm not sure fans are feeling as confident in January as they were back in August, but with a little bit of luck (and health), Roma could make some hay in Europe's JV competition.
#4: Return to the Champions League
This may be the most apparent resolution, but Roma's project (more on that in a minute) can't be sustained on Europa League cash and good intentions alone—they need to get back to the big dance asap. But throw out the cash considerations for a minute; Roma is more fun to follow when they play in the Champions League.
They won't be in a position to win it anytime soon, but there was a time, not that long ago when the club was virtually assured of advancing to the knockout stages. Get in the CL once, make some shrewd purchases, hope that a few of the U-23s come good, and voila, Roma are back among Europe's upper middle class.
#5: Sign Davide Frattesi Already
Admittedly, this one is as much personal as it is practical, but I'm tired of these micro-updates—sign the kid already; he's good, I swear.
#6: Is Svilar the Solution or Not?
Rui Patricio exceeded expectations during his first year in Rome, but with his play regressing and his birth certificate aging, the Giallorossi will have to move in a different direction sooner rather than later. The club seemingly decided on that direction last summer when they signed Mile Svilar, but the Belgian/Serbian keeper hasn't seen the pitch in a competitive match, so we have no earthly idea what he's capable of. [Correction: Svilar has one appearance in the Europa League]
Making matters worse, when he did play—during the club's tour of Japan last month—he fell flat on his face, which, in turn, precipitated a slew of rumors linking Roma to a variety of new keepers.
A mid-season exhibition in a far-off land does not a genuine trial make, so let's hope Mourinho gives Svilar a real chance to win the job; otherwise, it's back to square one for the umpteenth time since Alisson left.
#7: Have One of the Kids Make the Leap
For as much as we laud Roma's youth academy, they haven't exactly been supplying the senior team with ready-made talent, to say nothing of genuine star players. For every Lorenzo Pellegrini, the path from Trigoria to the Stadio Olimpico is littered with talents that never lived up to their potential.
Now, we're not asking for the second coming of La Masia, but having any one of Nicola Zalewski, Cristian Volpato, Edoardo Bove, or even Giacomo Faticanti turn into dependable and consistent rotation pieces would solve a lot of problems for Tiago Pinto and Roma.
#8: Another Pair of Marquee Signings
While they haven't yet completed their first seasons with Roma, both Paulo Dybala and Valentina Giacinti made waves when they signed for the Giallorossi and Giallorosse, respectively. With nine goals and two assists in 18 appearances (all comps), Giacinti has given the women of Roma the star striker they've so desperately craved over the past several years, while Dybala, despite missing a month of action, remains Mourinho's leading scorer.
And hey, what better way to build on those signings than add to them? We won't throw out any names just yet, but if Tiago Pinto and Betty Bavagnoli can gift their respective managers with more in-their-prime star players, their aspirations become more credible.
#9: Extend Mourinho or Compile a List of Replacements
Mourinho may be the most famous manager in history, but he tends to—and forgive me for being indelicate—hit it and quit it. Only once in his illustrious career has The Special One stayed longer than three seasons with any club, and that outlier comes with an asterisk. While Mourinho began the fourth season of his first stint with Chelsea in 2007, he promptly resigned in September amid rumors of a fallout with then-Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
With one year remaining on his Roma deal and with whispers that Mourinho is dissatisfied with the club's ambitions (which likely fueled the Portugal and Brazil national team rumors), the Friedkin family may soon be in a bind.
If we believe those rumors, Mourinho will likely wait to see what, if any, reinforcements he receives over the following two transfer windows before signing an extension. Still, as his career suggests, Mourinho's skin starts to crawl after year three, so it may be prudent to compile a list of possible successors to the Special One.
We'll end this list of resolutions with the most important, and perhaps most nebulous, note on this list: the future direction of the club.
#10: Continue to Invest
In their two short years at the helm, the Friedkin family has made significant progress with their new toy. They convinced Mourinho of their merits, to begin with, did their best to find new homes for Monchi's Misfits, ended a 30-year European trophy drought, and somehow managed to land one of the most skilled players Serie A has to offer—solid moves all around, but it's still not enough.
This follows from a previous point, but without significant additional investment on the pitch, Roma will remain an also-ran whose fortunes are overly dependent on luck, health, and friendly officiating.
Roma cannot stop here. Five years from now, we should look back on these past 18 months as the first steps toward legitimacy. But you can't venture down that path with aging Premier League castoffs (though players like that do serve a purpose); Roma needs genuine stars to complement Dybala and satisfy Mourinho—Half measures won't get it done anymore.
After all, what sense would it make to lure Mourinho and Dybala and then press pause?