La Repubblica (Matteo Pinci) Pallotta and Spalletti are growing increasingly distant. Geographically, at least, given that the coach – shortly after 9.00 yesterday morning – left on a train bound for Tuscany, where he will stay until Thursday. Given that it is the international break, the coach has allowed his exhausted squad 3 days off, which will also allow the coach to calm his nerves. Whoever is expecting a big meeting between the 2 will be disappointed though. No meetings have been scheduled, and time is running short for them to sit down and talk. The president will leave again on Friday, so he and the coach should meet the day before: this is what is being suggested in the corridors of Trigoria.
Whoever is hoping that matters could be resolved between them, however, is deluding themselves. After Roma-Sassuolo, the coach seemed in fact to be on his way: “If you insist I won’t talk again until the end of the year, as long as I don’t leave.” A goodbye? Not yet. But it’s clear from the words exchanged between the two that a divide both exists and that it’s a large divide. “It’s up to the coach if he stays,” insists Pallotta. “We do things correctly, we’ll decide together,” the coach replied. There’s one key method to convincing him: clear and satisfactory plans for the future. But the two don’t seem to agree even about this. For Spalletti, “If we carry on doing what we’ve been doing up until now, we’ll get the same results.” No trophies, in other words. Pallotta, on the other hand, seems to want to move in the opposite direction. “We’ll spend more when we have our stadium, we can’t invest €100m just for a name right now. We’ll move ahead with our youth project.” The reason? During the summer transfer market, Roma will have to recoup €80m to balance their accounts, which risk being heavily in the red without Champions League revenue.
The prime suspects are the usual ones: Manolas, who has been linked with Inter, Paredes, and maybe even Emerson, who has had some big offers from England, although he would prefer to stay in Italy for at least another year given his imminent call up to Ventura’s Italy side (“It’s a very big honour and I’m very happy about this possibility”, he has said). Then there’s the subject of an improved contract for Nainggolan, who is the subject of huge offers from the usual teams, and for Strootman, who is still being left high and dry. Yesterday Pallotta and interim sporting director Massara were going to talk about all this, but the transfer market meeting was postponed as the president was already busy with Kaitlyn Colligan and Robert Needham of Raptor (one of the two could be the new operations director, based in London).
They will see each other again later today: Walter Sabatini’s former assistant came back to Trigoria by himself. He made no announcements on his future or on Monchi’s, the sporting director who has decided to leave Sevilla: Baldini is pushing for him to join, others are backing Inter’s Ausilio, who was at the Olimpico on 7th February for Roma-Fiorentina and last Thursday for Roma-Lyon. He stayed in the city on Friday, and who knows if he was able to speak with Pallotta personally. Regardless of the person who will have to implement it, the “youth project” announced by Pallotta is already underway. Kessie is much more than just an idea.
In fact, there are those who believe that an agreement has already been practically agreed. Atalanta’s president Percassi certainly didn’t dismiss the idea. “Let’s say that Roma are very interested, because they see him as a very versatile player.” Then there’s Pellegrini: there is a €10m clause to buy him back from Sassuolo, but they need to discuss personal terms with the player. The ball is still in the air with regard to the question of contract renewals: Totti really could decide to retire. For De Rossi, it’s still necessary to wait a bit longer.