Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) It finished with a handshake, a promise that he will soon sign a contract. “I’m not a director of Roma yet, but I will be soon,” Totti said as he left the Hotel De Russie, where he met with Pallotta yesterday evening. It was the last step required before putting pen to paper on his new contract that will tie him to the Giallorossi for another 6 years. Not as a player any more, of course, but he won’t be hidden away in a corner of Trigoria: the president seems to have convinced Francesco to be a public face of the club, given how easily recognised he is around the world, but his principle role will be operational, in the technical area.
After their discussions they agreed that they should continue on together, having found a good compromise after a long period of reflection. Jim landed at 13.00 at Ciampino yesterday, flying in directly from London where he had discussed transfer matters with Monchi, but didn’t go directly to meet Totti at the training centre where he was meeting managing director Gandini, instead preferring to do some shopping in the city centre before meeting the former number 10 in a hotel.
Their discussions were positive, and they finished with a handshake and an agreement in principle. “I’ll sign soon,” Francesco said to the reporters and fans waiting outside (around 50 or so). There was no sign of the pair’s previously frosty relationship, and the hope now is that the captain will sign his contract soon. The idea would be for him to fly to America at the end of July for the friendly against his friend Del Piero’s old side Juventus, and the progress made yesterday could transform this idea into reality. It would be Totti’s first tour as a director. As soon as he landed in the capital, Pallotta made sure to underline that “we speak to each other frequently, there are no problems, when we’ve decided on something you’ll know about it.”
There was no official announcement yesterday evening, but any time would now be a good opportunity to confirm Francesco’s new life with the Giallorossi. “I don’t know what they said to each other, all I can say is I would like to have him at the club with a clearly defined role. Roma is Totti and Totti is Roma,” commented Di Francesco at yesterday evening’s event with the fans at Madonna di Campiglio. Then he added, “We’re trying to buy a world class player, that’s what we want.” Pallotta has full confidence in Monchi: “He’s doing an excellent job, he’s the first person since I’ve been here who has brought me a list of all the players that we have and all the players we need in May. We have shared ideas and we’ll make all our choices together.”
The strategy was laid out in detail during their summit in America and has been further refined ever since then. “We have the best midfield in Italy, and we’ll do even better when Florenzi is back. We’ve bought Cengiz and we’ve got a couple more names in mind. They are players who have a lot of potential to improve. We’ve made sales for 2 reasons: one is Financial Fair Play, the other is that we evaluate players based on their future potential. Nainggolan and Manolas aren’t going anywhere.” While Juventus might have something to say about the latter, there is no doubt about the former: the Belgian is ready to renew with Roma. Radja went to Trigoria yesterday, but he didn’t meet the club management (Monchi and his agent met on Wednesday): he was trying some new boots instead. The two parties will sit down for further talks over the weekend, but an agreement isn’t far off.