Monchi’s mandate: Time for Roma to commit

Roma have their man, now they must stick by him and build something stable for the future

Earlier this week, Roma completed their main signing as they look to build a brighter future with a new stadium where they can finally compete as true equals with the all-conquering Juventus. Monchi comes into the role as an unusually high-profile addition from Sevilla after weeks of speculation in the position of sporting director.

The Giallorossi have recently seen Walter Sabatini and Franco Baldini in the role with both in charge of transfers for relatively long periods of time. Sabatini flipped a remarkable 100 players which boosted the club’s finances even if they’ve been unable to kick on on the pitch.

There were expensive mistakes such as Juan Iturbe or Seydou Doumbia but the majority of signings were good and Monchi with his eye for diamonds in the rough will be eager to pick up the next Radja Nainggolan or Erik Lamela. As if ever the case in the role, they both had hit and miss records but there were probably more successful buys even if it’s now up to Monchi to fire the Giallorossi into Europe’s elite.

Roma are keen not to be held prisoner by Italian resistance to change with their American owners and stadium plans and Monchi looks to be a step in the right direction. They just need to hold their nerve now and back their man. Somebody who unearthed Sergio Ramos, Ivan Rakitic and Grzegorz Krychowiak, along with the current AC Milan and Roma stalwarts Carlos Bacca and Federico Fazio on the cheap clearly knows what they’re doing. The Andalusians won eleven cups during his tenure. It’s obvious that he knows what he’s doing and Roma must ignore the temptation to hold his hand and allow him to do as he sees fit. There will be difficult moments as the club is modernised by they must persist and not look to Monchi as a scapegoat following the inevitable future setbacks.

While there is a lot of excitement at Monchi’s arrival, it could take some time to adapt. He was a one-club man at Sevilla which goes well with the club of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi but it also means he will have to acclimatise quickly to a new country under a weight of expectation. Totti’s imminent retirement and move into upstairs ushers in a symbolic new era for the club so there will be a potentially difficult period of radical change to get through.

As a veteran of the Italian game, Zdenek Zeman criticised his appointment as somebody with no prior links to the country. It shouldn’t matter but Italian football is still conservative. Monchi clearly knew what he was doing at Sevilla as the club punched above its weight with three Europa League titles since 2010 while Roma have underperformed in continental football. While Monchi’s fresh approach should be a welcome bonus, there is a risk of resistance in a country which is traditionally resistant to change and that could complicate transfer negotiations with fellow Serie A sides.

It will have to be…

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