It’s a whole new era for Serie A after nine consecutive years of Juventus dominance. The Old Lady was well and truly dethroned, with San Siro residents Inter and upstart Atlanta climbing above the supposed super club. Furthermore, only a single point split Napoli in fifth place and Juventus in a Champions League spot.
Roma, though, struggled under the weight of major injuries, inconsistency, and a gamble on European progression that crumbled in Manchester. Now, however, there’s a renewed sense of optimism, as well as a surprising amount of acceptance for patience, with José Mourinho joining the Lupi.
Serie A has opened up for the first time in a decade, and several other clubs around this new-forged top-seven have leapt at the opportunity to attempt to seize the Scudetto. Managers are flying in from all over, with there clearly being a sense of possibility around.
Coming in under the guise of a hopeful rebuild, should Roma and Mourinho now have a more optimistic outlook amidst the chaos being forged atop the table?
A chaotic offseason in the hierarchy of Serie A
While perhaps not unforeseeable, given that they gave the reins to an inexperienced manager who inherited a batch of stars set in their styles and unlikely to gel into his new systems, Juventus’ demise was a shock to the system. Inter Milan was the team best positioned to take advantage of their eventual tumble, but did so emphatically.
Finishing 12 points ahead of the runners-up, AC Milan, and 13 ahead of the former champions, the Nerazzurri suddenly looked primed for dominance. Then, almost as soon as they hoisted the Scudetto, the manager who forged the success left.
Antonio Conte was said to be unhappy with the club’s plans to sell up to €100 million-worth of the squad rather than develop it further. So, Conte left, and Simone Inzaghi joined after impressing as the Lazio boss, but the club still appears to be aiming to sell at least one key piece.
The Bianconeri, more predictably, parted ways with Andrea Pirlo. Legend that he is, the job that he came into wasn’t suited to a newer manager, especially one who had a new idea of how to play. So, they’ve turned to the manager who brought them four titles in a row, Massimiliano Allegri. However, Cristiano Ronaldo is said to be weighing his options in the transfer market.
SSC Napoli have also sensed an opening to return to the Champions League, moving on from Gennaro Gattuso to a former Roma and Inter boss, Luciano Spalletti. As the last manager to win silverware at Stadio Olimpico and with a track record of top-four finishes, he’s a savvy appointment, and the squad appears to suit his style of play.
It’s not exactly plain sailing in the Rossoneri half of Milan, either, with several integral squad losses on the cards. While faded, Mario Mandžukić was a vital part of the dressing room and will leave on a free, as will club talisman Gianluigi Donnarumma. Loanees Brahim Díaz, Sandro Tonali, Diogo Dalot, Soualiho Meïté, and Fikayo Tomori all featured heavily in the club’s run to second, but it’s uncertain how many will return.
Does Mourinho’s goals change amidst the changes?
Mourinho was officially appointed on 4 May 2021, before much of the above was realised. He came in with the aim of establishing a core and rebuilding the squad with little financial backing from the board, which would, understandably, grant the Portuguese coach more time to operate. However, the Roma fan base is one of the most avid in the world, and the club still commands international attention, specifically from sports bettors.
There are highly-rated, regulated sites from the UK to Italy, as shown by https://www.SBO.net, with football betting having the largest share of markets. Naturally, there are plenty of promotions for bettors to take advantage of including welcome bonuses as the industry is highly competitive. Roma has that star appeal and legacy that always attracts bettors who’re looking to find value in sports betting. Still, even with Mourinho in charge, they’ll need to analyse his ethos and be savvy, applying betting strategies to follow the team’s form, especially as most highly-rated platforms have Roma as the sixth-favourites to claim the crown.
Even though the Serie A hierarchy has been uprooted, with so many changes over the summer, Mourinho’s position at Roma remains the same. As mentioned by former Inter and Roma coach Andrea Stramaccioni, everyone’s very enthusiastic by Mourinho’s arrival, but there’s still the challenge of building a strong team from within the club’s current financial situation. It’ll be a relatively new task for ‘The Special One,’ but should afford him more time than at any of his recent clubs.
Not only does he also have to contend with UEFA’s latest bright idea, the third tier of European football known as the Europa Conference League, but there’s also the question of an ageing forward corps. Edin Džeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Pedro are beyond their prime, the former duo run out of contract at the end of next season, and yet they combined for 34 goals last season – only loanee Borja Mayoral outscored Džeko.
That said, Mourinho will have a spritely batch of talents that he could build around. Headlined by Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolò Zaniolo, Marash Kumbulla, Roger Ibañez, Carles Pérez, Amadou Diawara, and the returning Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Ünder, there’s plenty to look forward to from this potential future core of the team.
The free agency market also looks to be strong this season, in which Mourinho and general manager Tiago Pinto might get a boost should Džeko or Mkhitaryan depart as reportedly requested. Even with their current salary budget, there are plenty of cost-effective additions available.
Even though the Scudetto looks to be there for the taking, 2021/22 will still be focussed around one of rebuilding and pursuing progress under Mourinho. Still, a good run could see the Giallorossi suddenly in contention.