Yiannis Bouranis writes about AS Roma and the rumours that Luciano Spalletti will replace Rudi Garcia at the team’s bench.
Roma finds itself at a crossroads once again, as the team’s mediocre performances in the past month have caused the administration’s and fans’ annoyance, with manager Rudi Garcia’s presence in the club being more insecure than ever before.
Despite a 2-0 win over Genoa at home on December 22nd , which saw the club cutting the deficit from league leaders Inter Milan to four points (36-32), the Frenchman is running out of time as the side’s coach.
Although there were high expectations in the beginning of the season, Roma has been out of form in most games since November’s international break and the 4-2 penalty shootout loss to Serie B side Spezia in the Coppa Italia round of 16 can be a turning point for both the Italians and their coach, who seems to be on borrowed time.
“We have to get our enthusiasm and confidence back,” said Garcia after the painful loss to Spezia, however things are more complicated.
Before Sunday’s match against Genoa, the squad’s collapse had weakened their chances to fight for the title, although they were close to the top of the table until November’s international break. Since then, though, they have failed to win, as the club’s crisis seems to get bigger.
Consequently, it’s possible the first match of 2016 against Chievo Verona on the road will see Roma having appointed a new manager, with President James Pallotta having already given his green light to replace Rudi Garcia, according to reports.
More specifically, according to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pallotta himself had a meeting with his directors and asked them to find someone else for the bench.
“Find a solution, this isn’t working,” was the president’s message according to the publication, with Luciano Spalletti being the main candidate.
According to reports, Spalletti, who is no longer under contract with Zenit Saint Petersburg, has agreed terms and will take over in the first days of 2016, being free to sign an 18-month deal with the Giallorossi.
This will be Spalletti’s second spell at Olimpico, as the Italian coach was already at the club from July 2005 to August 2009.
Although there are more candidates for the team’s bench, like Marcelo Bielsa, Sassuolo’s Eusebio Di Francesco or the club’s big target Antonio Conte, Spalletti is the grand favourite to take over if Garcia is relieved of his duties in the next few days.
In the meantime, Garcia showed no signs of nervousness at Roma’s Christmas dinner, saying that “the season isn’t over, I feel that after the storm, the sun will come out. There will still be good days.”
Despite Roma having officially denied rumours involving Garcia’s replacement with the 56-year-old Italian manager, the Frenchman is still on thin ice at the Stadio Olimpico and the next few days will be crucial for his future.
All in all, Roma finds itself again in a crisis and the situation should change immediately if the club wants to remain on the title race and have a chance to qualify to the top-8 in the Champions League. Otherwise, things will certainly get worse.