Roma sporting director Ramon Monchi was interviewed in today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport. These are his words:
A judgment after your first 20 months in Rome?
Judgments can be made when a project ends and mine is still quite long. If I think of last season, it is positive, while this season hasn’t been good so far. But a few results will not change my way of thinking and or have the enthusiasm fade that I get from working here.
So you will not leave at the end of the season.
Every day I feel that as if I will resign or that they will send me away. But no, I’ve already said that, I’m staying in Rome. My goal is to achieve success gradually but continuously. I understand that right now the first need of the fans is to win, but it is also important to always be competitive at a high-level and close to success. It’s better that way rather than just winning once and then nothing. Rome is the capital and in the city, the vast majority are Romanisti. I knew it would be challenging and difficult: there’s huge support, loads of pressure, even the media — but the ups and downs of the environment are not an excuse for me. It’s not only here that there’s a crisis when you lose, it happens at City, Juventus, Bayern, in every big club. And Roma, even though they haven’t won much, is still a big club because of its importance. Of course, sometimes you need to learn to see gray and not just white or black. Beyond a certain result or a right or wrong purchase in the market, for me our club is a model one. It’s a shame that sometimes judgments on myself and Di Francesco are constantly swirling in the background but Roma is more than what one reads or feels.
Speaking of Di Francesco, did you struggle to defend him (during the crisis)?
It was not difficult because there was 100% confidence in my idea of keeping him — and everyone agreed. When we went to Boston to meet Pallotta, Eusebio was talked about for 15-20 seconds. Roma has an important president and management. I am responsible for my area and if Monchi is convinced, it is not discussed. Then the judgments will be made at the end of the season. Of course, though, there are certain moments: losing in Udine or Bologna or drawing in the manner we did to Cagliari — I, too, want to kill the manager and even myself, that’s where the fans are right. But my confidence in him was huge when I brought him here and after having working with him, it’s even stronger today.
Is your perception that Roma has emerged from the crisis?
I would like to think so, there are signs that we are growing. We are re-discovering important players, especially on a physical level. We’re getting back on track to hit our targets.
De Rossi, his injury and contract renewal: what is the situation?
Knowing Daniele and his Romanism, it is not good for him to talk about the future either. We all have to hope for his recovery. Fortunately we have had good news and now we need to understand what will happen when he returns to training on the pitch. Two days ago, I saw Daniele differently: he was optimistic and positive, because he had no pain.
As for renewals, Manolas, Ünder, El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini: when will those be discussed?
They are all different situations. Some will be evaluated at the end of the market, others at the end of the season. And there is Zaniolo that, given the performance, maybe he will be the first renewal that we will face.
The question that all the fans want to know: will Zaniolo stay at Roma for a long time?
We have sold important players in order to balance the books because a model club must respect the rules. Then we all know that in Italy and abroad, there are clubs that pretend or take different paths. But today, our idea is to build a great team, so I say that Zaniolo is the future of Roma will not be sold. He will have a long and important path in this club. He is like a building that we are building slowly, but if we do not do so well enough, then he could collapse at any second. I have seen so many talents that have been wasted.
Speaking of self-criticism: was it wrong to buy Pastore and Schick?
These are two different questions. Pastore is a strong player, the question is re-finding the player from Palermo and PSG, and I think we still have time. I thought of him as a mezz’ala. For Schick, the problem is not the player. In training, Patrik is very strong – everyone says this, but unfortunately, those skills are not seen continuously in the match. So you have to work on the person. We could send him on loan to help, but there is no perfect and safe formula. I think Patrik is a fruit and we still have to squeeze him to the end and spend time and energy on him. I believe in him. He’s talented, but adaptation is sometimes complicated. Think of Immobile. If you talk about him in Dortmund or in Sevilla, they would like to kill him, but at Lazio he is an idol.
What will you do in the January market?
Roma invested a lot last summer, the important things are already done. We are only looking for players who raise the level of the team. It is not easy, but we will try until the end. But as far as quality and quantity we are ready, I’m sure of it.
Let’s finish with a game: we will say names, and you tell us only if they are possible or impossible for Roma. Let’s start with Piatek.
It would be possible if they did not ask for €70 million. For me he is strong, but he is at Genoa.
Malcom in Barcelona does not play, would you take him if they offered him?
No, when one is sporting director of a club, he must understand that he represents also the heart and the feelings of the fans. He made fools of Roma and I care about the image of the club.
He is one of the most important youngsters in Italian football, but I could say the same about Barella.
Now it is impossible, but in summer it’s different.
Impossible, now and later. They turned down an offer from Chelsea for €40 million. We can not spend that much for a central defender.
Ziyech and Belotti?
I like them both.
We like it, but we’ll talk about him in June.
Dendocker and Ozyakup?
Impossible, just like Herrera.