Slowly but surely, Jose Mourinho is building his own team with a real project in Rome.
The Eternal City had the first year of his project last season and the results were encouraging: Conference League champions and a union with the fans that is the envy of many teams in Italy.
Despite the rumours (mainly coming from Newcastle) that circulated a few months ago, Mourinho stated bluntly that his objective was to fulfil his three-season contract (until 2024) with ‘La Loba’.
Since the beginning of July, Roma started to work in the shadow of the media dominance of the Italian giants of Milan, Juventus and Internazionale, the team from the capital has surprised many with their business in the market and in pre-season.
A summer of good results
Although the plan of the American owners was to take Roma to the United States this summer for a commercial tour, Mourinho objected.
The team had a training camp in the Algarve and then returned to the Italian capital as ‘the Special One’ wanted to have a more ‘traditional’ pre-season, avoiding long trips and timezone changes for his players.
And so far they are responding on the pitch: 3 wins (Sunderland, Portimonense and Tottenham), a draw (Nice) and a defeat (Sporting CP).
Among the highlights of the Giallorossi’s summer, have been the moments showing the competitive character that Mourinho has instilled in his players and Paulo Dybala‘s debut against Tottenham (with an assist for the decisive goal).
Good business… and what’s still to come
If the last transfer window could not be as being as Mourinho may have expected, given that it was mostly about reacting to departures, this one has been different.
The jewel in the crown has been Dybala (requested by the Portuguese coach to take advantage of the market opportunity that presented itself), but Nemanja Matic and Mile Svilar have also arrived at his request.
Dybala’s may be the most emotional presentation in the history of Serie A.
Then there was Zeki Celik from Lille and the Turkish player had less of a reputation than the rest but gives Rick Karsdorp the chance to take a breather at right-back.
In addition, progress is being made on a daily basis for Georgino Wijnaldum and the option of Andrea Belotti continues to swirl in the rumour mill as Mourinho seeks to reinforce his attack.
Last but not least, it seems that Nicolo Zaniolo is set to stay… and that’s another victory for Mourinho.
While Mourinho has avoided making statements to the press for now, his players have been more public.
The bookmakers have Roma as the main alternative to the three from the north, but in the capital they are somewhat more cautious.
“The objective is to return to the Champions League,” they declare one after the other, convinced that they have to take it one step at a time.
The market has been positive, but Roma still seem to be lacking something, especially in defence.
The back three (Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez) are inconsistent and, at times, unreliable.
Passion in the stands and a solid project
Roma started the summer with a Conference League hangover and a record number of season ticket holders in the first renewal phase.
If last season ended with an average of 55,000 to 60,000 spectators per game, it seems that this season will repeat the good number of ticket sales at the Stadio Olimpico.
There can be no doubt that Mourinho and his Roma team have infected the stands with the euphoria that they transmit on the pitch.
Then there are the Friedkins, the club’s owners who have been at the helm of the club for several years now and have invested more than 600 million euros between the purchase of the club and the holes they have been plugging.
A few years ago, Roma was in a very delicate financial situation and although the debt is still large, little by little we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to this new management.