The Search for Roma’s New Manager

As the end of the winter break draws closer (as well as their fixture against Real Madrid), the search for Roma’s new manager is heating up. President James Pallotta is reportedly conducting meetings with Walter Sabatini, the team’s director of football, in regards to what they should do to repair the terrible form Roma have recently found themselves in the midst of.

Various media outlets are reporting that Pallotta is in favour to sack Rudi Garcia and replace him with a more prestigious manager, either now or at the conclusion of the season. Whichever route Pallotta takes may also lead to Sabatini being fired from the giallorossi. Below are a list of candidates to potentially lead AS Roma in the new year.

The Search for Roma’s New Manager

THE CANDIDATES:

Marcello Lippi

Holding the World Cup trophy, Marcello Lippi
Holding the World Cup trophy, Marcello Lippi finally smiles 

 

Current status:

Without contract since 2014

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

Simply a legendary icon in Italian football – Lippi has won it all both for club and country. His experience and gravitas are both renowned; if Roma were to acquire him his leadership may spark a reaction out of a seemingly lifeless side. He already would have the dressing room due to his relationship with Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi; both featured as a part of his 2006 FIFA World Cup winning side, with De Rossi also featuring for him in 2010. He also possesses that Champions League experience that Pallotta is desperately yearning for.

What factors work against him?

The only thing not on Lippi’s side is his age as he turns 68 this upcoming April. Thus, if he were to join the capitoline side, it would likely be on an interim basis until the end of the season. Lippi has been known to play favourites, even if they are well past their expiry date; how Italy fared in 2010 was strictly due to his squad selection, crashing out in the group stages.

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti with Real Madrid – possibly the greatest manager of the modern era

 

Current status: 

Just signed a contract with Bayern Munich for the 2016-2017 season

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

Heavily touted as the prodigal son for the five previous seasons, Ancelotti was a legend for Roma during a relatively unsuccessful era between the 83 and 01 Scudetto winning sides before transferring to the north. Obviously an impeccable coaching record, he has won wherever he has gone as is well-documented. There’s also the fact that he’s reiterated time and time again his desire to coach i Lupi.

What factors work against him?

Unfortunately, this appointment is impossible as he’s already signed a contract with Bayern Munich for the following season. Maybe next time?

Jose Mourinho

A pensive Mourinho with Chelsea
A pensive Mourinho with Chelsea

 

Current status:

Released early from his contract with Chelsea due to poor results

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

The self-proclaimed Special One, Mourinho is a living legend, whether football supporters worldwide love him or hate him. It’s just a fact. He’s won literally everything at the club level, and his teams are legendary. The cult of personality he evokes is unseen in the modern game, and up until this year has proven successful. He won Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in a treble with Inter during the 2009-2010 season. He took a Porto side relatively comparable to Roma to the top of Europe during his spell at his native club. If he were to sign, it wouldn’t be for long term – that’s simply not Mourinho’s style, so for Roma it would be a worthy experiment and a safe investment.

What factors work against him?

Well, he was fired for poor results, after all. Is it possible that in his reluctance to adapt to new tactics, he has lost touch with the game? Besides, what if his cult of personality clashes with the nucleus of Romans within the squad? He has been known for forcing owners to splash funds on plenty of players, which is a mitigating factor towards his appointment. There’s also the notion to consider that he gets paid by Chelsea as long as he’s unemployed… perhaps he is in no hurry to return, and for Roma’s sake, this may be beneficial.

Luciano Spalletti

Spalletti during his stint with Roma
Spalletti during his stint with Roma

 

Current status:

Without contract since 2014

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

A specialist with low-budgeted sides, Luciano Spalletti brought Udinese to the upper echelons of Italian football a decade ago before joining a Roma side in financial ruin. With limited resources, he brought them two Coppa Italia’s and a Supercoppa on top of several second place finishes. His 54% winning ratio with Roma is 2% higher than that of Rudi Garcia, but with nearly twice as many matches in charge. Needless to say, his track record is much better. He is also known for playing a similar style to Garcia, that wouldn’t necessarily be drastically different for the squad. During his time in Rome he brought many players from the Primavera side into the first team, something that Garcia has failed to do. He made home grown players like Alberto Aquilani, Daniele De Rossi, Aleandro Rosi as well as relatively unknown Italians like Simone Perrotta, Marco Cassetti, Max Tonetto and Matteo Brighi into first team players. He also gave Marco Motta, Alessandro Crescenzi, Marco D’Alessandro, Stefano Okaka and Gianluca Curci their first starts in the top division. Spalletti knows how to make a team great – he just needs time to address the issues.

What factors work against him?

He previously stated that he was against returning to a team whose fans felt that second place was a failure like Roma’s – many believe that he was under appreciated which led to his resignation. He also won’t be staying for a short spell – a long-term contract would have to be in the works right from the initial talks which could be a stalling point in negotiations. Though he did bring Roma to the quarters of the Champions League, he is notorious for being a bridesmaid.

Aurelio Andreazzoli

Aurelio Andreazzoli as AS Roma interim manager
Aurelio Andreazzoli as AS Roma interim manager

 

Current status:

Presently Roma’s technique coach

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

Andreazzoli stepped away from his position as technique coach with the senior side into the role of caretaker manager during the 2012-2013 season following the dismissal of Zdeněk Zeman. He then remained a part of the managerial staff as an assistant coach during the Rudi Garcia era, where he now continues to have the backroom role he had prior to the Zemanlandia fiasco. His role would be the same as before if he were to find himself in the manager’s position – interim. Lacking any first team head managerial experience except for his last stint, his career has revolved around the tactical side of the game. He was tasked with recovering the defensive aspects of Roma, and did so brilliantly in route to their Coppa Italia final loss that year. A strict disciplinarian and a perfectionist, he may be just what this club needs to rejuvenate their campaign before all is lost.

What factors work against him?

His lack of experience and his authoritarian leadership caused sparks to fly between him and several players during his previous stint with the club, most notably with Pablo Osvaldo. Knowing that he’s more suited for a backroom role (and likely prefers it), it may not be wise to have him return and cause unrest in the side with star players like Miralem Pjanic already contemplating whether to depart or not.

Alberto De Rossi

The Author and Alberto De Rossi
The author Aldo Ventresca and Alberto De Rossi in Toronto

 

Current status:

Manager of Roma’s Primavera side

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

He is a true Romanista, being a part of the club for many, many years. His Primavera side have won countless titles through the years, with a keen eye for spotting talent. As a teacher of the game to youth, he may be able to break bad habits in the senior players and bring some excitement into the fold. What more can one ask of an interim manager? Oh, and his son happens to play for the team – you may know him, his name is Daniele.

What factors work against him?

Speaking to Alberto De Rossi in July of last year, I posed the question to him whether or not he sees himself with the senior side one day. His reaction was that of being content – he was happy where he was for he had a steady job without fear of being sacked like a first-team manager. He also said that “seeing players graduate to the first team brings [him] joy”. That being said, if he is content where he is, he may be opposed to making the transition, even if for a temporary basis.

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte with Juventus

 

Current status:

Contract with Italian national team expiring in July

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

His success with Juventus the past few years has been incredible, simply put. Though Allegri may have succeeded him, Conte is still the favourite and for good reason – he built the side for Allegri to work with. For a team devoid of success in several years, he rejuvenated them to repeated titles. This is the situation that Roma find themselves in – their Coppa Italia from 2008 nearly a decade ago, their Scudetto from 2001 but a dream of which the only remaining member is Totti. The question is, can Conte be a miracle worker once more? His boring, systematic approach to the game is safe, yet with wingers such as Salah and Gervinho could prove devastating.

What factors work against him?

Frankly, he is without question juventino through and through. The thought of someone not completely devoted to the giallorossi is something of terror for the supporters of the club. Despite this glaring smudge, he also is employed until July, and would definitely want a big check from a team already paying the remaining years on Rudi Garcia’s contract.

Rudi Garcia

Rudi Garcia facing tougher times
Rudi Garcia facing tougher times

 

Current status:

Roma’s present manager

Why would he be the ideal candidate?

The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. Rudi Garcia is one of the most successful managers in the history of the club, and this could be just a bad patch of form. Many integral players have succumbed to injuries, and this winter break may just be what the team needs to recuperate. The players have announced their support behind their upbeat, positive manager. Publicly, their support for him has been unwavering, if not overwhelming. It’s up to him to restore the faith of the tifosi. Then there’s the payment of the remaining years on his contract if he were to be sacked.

What factors work against him?

Well, this isn’t the first time Roma have had a winter slump under Garcia. It’s also not the first time Sabatini has found him a prolific striker that’s failed in his system – first Doumbia, now Dzeko. It’s also not the first time since the sale of Benatia that the defenders have been horrendous under pressure. The attacking play has stagnated, with predictable passing plays leaving the team exposed to counter attacks. Countless champions and talented prospects have been brought in these past three years only to be wasted. Doumbia is back to scoring goals by the bucket load in Russia, Tin Jedvaj excelling in Leverkusen, Astori starring for Fiorentina, Sanabria scoring hat tricks for Sporting Gijon, and Leandro Parades impressing with Empoli. Perhaps his greatest failure is the wasted youth that sit on the bench. When was the last time that Salih Uçan, Norbert Gyömbér, Ezequiel Ponce or Emerson featured following transfers the past few summers? The supporters have turned on Rudi Garcia and his “Rudi Can’t Fail” mentality, and the time may come for the club to as well.