What’s in store for AS Roma
A closer look inside the Capitoline’s club Present and Future
The sixth season since the takeover of the Americans is coming to an end for AS Roma, and although The Giallorossi are virtually still fighting in both the Italian League and the Italian Cup, it looks like it could be another season without silverware.
Current AS Roma head coach Luciano Spalletti’s contract is running out at the end of the season, and even though he’s done a great job since replacing Rudi Garcia in January 2016, the chances of seeing him renewing the deal are decreasing day after day.
The relationship with AS Roma president James Pallotta has also worsened and is not as good as the president stated, but the American businessman told the press that Spalletti’s permanence on AS Roma’s bench is up to the Italian coach himself. On the other hand, Spalletti said in December and confirmed in more recent times that if he doesn’t win a trophy he will leave his position at AS Roma.
AS Roma is second in the league, with current leaders Juventus 8 points away and with 9 games still too be played. But the main priority for AS Roma is to defend the second spot from Napoli, who is only 2 points away, which are virtually 3 as if the two sides finish with the same points The Giallorossi have a goal difference advantage in the two meetings of this season.
The second place is considered vital for AS Roma’s management for many reasons. First of all, it means that AS Roma wouldn’t have to fight for a spot in the Champions League group stages in August’s Playoffs like this year, where they were eliminated by FC Porto, instead they would directly qualify.
A further positive effect would be a more calm and relaxed preparation in the summer both decisions wise and training wise. But the best benefit for AS Roma would definitely be the certain revenue that comes from qualifying to the group stages.
James Pallotta and the new management are still working to clear the debt that was left before their takeover in 2011 and the money coming from the Champions League is key to use on the transfer market and help with the debt, thus avoiding further fines from the UEFA for not respecting the Financial Fair Play.
AS Roma has started to plan for the future following James Pallotta’s recent interviews in which he stated that until the new stadium will be ready (approximately for the 2020 season), the main focus of the transfer market will be to sign promising players and try to keep all the best players.
The first move going into this direction is the hiring of highly-rated director of football Monchi from Sevilla. The Spanish figure, who is well known for finding great talents around the world for relatively cheap fees, met on Monday with AS Roma’s management to discuss the three-year deal offered by The Giallorossi and start to plan the future.
Before thinking about the transfer market, AS Roma have some other priorities to define. First of all, the head coach situation will need to be solved. Luciano Spalletti is unlikely to stay if the policy of the club is to focus on young and promising players, and the number one candidate to replace him is Eusebio Di Francesco, who currently coaches at Sassuolo and has done a great job with youngsters, especially Italian youngsters.
Di Francesco won the Serie A as a player with AS Roma in 2001 to end his 4 year stay at The Giallorossi and has been part of the coaching staff before. His figure is a popular one between the supporters and he wouldn’t need time to adapt to the city and the league. However, other clubs including Fiorentina are very interested in hiring him.
Furthermore, club legend, icon and captain Francesco Totti’s contract is running out and it’s still not clear wether this will be his last season or he will get a new one-year deal, but the decision will not be taken until the end of the season. Also long-serving vice-captain Daniele De Rossi’s contract will expire at the end of the season, but sources say that he is close to agree to a new two-year deal with a big reduction of wages from the current €6M per year to a smaller €2,5M per year.
AS Roma will also like to sign new contracts to a list of players that include Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman, Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rüdiger. Moreover, AS Roma have the obligation to make some loan deals permanent due to previous agreements and this list includes Diego Perotti, Juan Jesus and Mario Rui, for a total of €22M.
Brazilian right-back Bruno Peres would be part of this list, but sources say AS Roma will pay Torino by permanently selling Iago Falque (currently on loan) and Lukasz Skorupski (currently on loan at Empoli).
Considering that AS Roma may not receive enough money by selling players out of the plans or returning from loans, the two main candidates to raise money for summer signings are, in order, Kostas Manolas and Leandro Paredes. The Greek defender have told the press that he will only move if AS Roma sells him but his contract is expiring in 2019 and there has been many difficulties in contract talks causing reported interest by many big teams including Inter Milan, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
AS Roma is expecting around €40M to sell their center back and is trying to set up an auction between the interested teams. If Manolas decides to stay and sign a new deal, AS Roma will consider selling Argentinian midfielder Leandro Paredes, as he will be the most expendable player to raise enough money.
The first signing of the season for AS Roma is likely to be Italian promising midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, who played for The Giallorossi’s youth teams before being sold to Sassuolo. AS Roma kept a €10M buy-back clause that can be activated until July. The Giallorossi have also targeted highly-requested midfielder Franck Kessie, who played at a very high level for Atalanta this season.
During the January transfer window there were rumors that a fee was already agreed for him but since then many other teams became interested and the deal is not certain, although the 20 year old remains one of the main targets. With rumors of Kostas Manolas’ future away from Rome, also a number of center-backs have been linked to the Italian side but there is not yet any noticeable interest by AS Roma.
It’s gonna be even more hot this summer in Rome with a lot of decisions still to be taken, but the first priority and main objective remains to defend the second spot and directly qualify to the group stages of Champions League, with or without Luciano Spalletti guiding the team for the next campaign.