Gianluca Petrachi was officially unveiled today to the media after having been named the new sporting director last week of Roma. These are his words:
What are your first impressions of the environment?
Let me say it’s an honor to be here. I already knew the sport center. One of the first negotiations I had in my career was at Trigoria: when I was the sporting director of Pisa and I brought Cerci. I returned a few years ago for Falque and Ljajic. Trigoria has changed a bit and it’s being refinished but it’s much nicer, but the size of this place emits of how great this club is.
What convinced you about Fonsenca?
I was very impressed by Paulo Fonseca. I have followed him in the last few years because there was a player that I wanted to bring to Torino so I watched him and how Shakhtar played. I saw how great he was in those matches and how he likes to play: aggressive, recovering the ball quickly. I love this mentality. My career, although not prolific, would have been different if I had a manager like Fonseca. He gives precise orders, although, he’s not a fundamentalist, he’s not fixed on the same exact things: he has several approaches. He can give to all supporters a clear identity to this team. I hope people realise what I’m talking about when they see this team player. I’m very optimistic about Fonseca. It will take time to adopt his style and ideas but I’m optimistic. We have clear ideas and speak often. It’s fundamental that the manager and sporting director share a similar vision of football. This allows everything to work well.
Dzeko and Schick’s futures? What about Higuain?
One doesn’t just wake up one day and decide to leave. Roma can’t be blacmailed by anyone: when a player already agrees with another club, who then in turn tries to blackmail us. Whoever doesn’t want to stay Roma anymore and doesn’t have the right motivation must come to us with the right offer from a club and then he can go. I won’t keep anyone here by force but I don’t like feeling as if I’m being squeezed. I don’t care if a player already has an agreement with another club, even though this is not the right approach – they’re not the boss: Roma holds their rights. We won’t be squeezed by anybody, we will make the best choices and I believe the first moves done make logial and footballing sense. Manolas’ departure was born from the fact he wanted to leave. I talked to his agent and he showed me the solutions. I informed him that if Manolas wants to leave then his release clause must be paid. If the money doesn’t arrive then the player stays. Napoli made an important offer to us, one in which we’d receive an important player. We found a player in Diawara who needs confidence but represents a profile we need. Yesterday, he even called me to tell me he was willing to skip his holiday and immediately come to Roma. This is the type of desire and enthusiasm I want.
Can Higuain fit your needs?
I think anyone discussing Higuain’s ability is crazy. He’s a player who has lost some self-esteem but he could be useful if Dzeko leaves. In order to re-find himself, there’s no better solution for Gonzalo than Roma. Motivation matters. I want players here who are motivated. Higuain could do as Batistuta did. We’ll have to evaluate things. But as of now, Dzeko is a Roma player: if he wants to leave, then Inter must come with the money. If not, then it’s not something I’ll do.
As for Barella, so many inaccuracies have been said: even before I arrived, his agent sat down with the club many times and reached an economic agreement and he was very happy to come to Rome, I was told. Then between all the episodes such as Monchi’s farewell, talks dissipated a bit. Inter came into the mix and the player was called by Conte, who is good at convincing players to join him and that he wants them. It’s difficult because Cagliari wants to give him to Roma but the player wants Inter. For me, it’s a closed chapter.
The relationship with Baldini?
Like many of my colleagues, I was contacted by Franco. He remains Pallotta’s consultant: I was clear with him, I don’t make compromises when I discuss my choices. The club must be clear if there’s something we can or can’t do from an economic standpoint. On the technical side, though, I am the one who makes decisions and takes responsibility for the purchases. Cairo never imposed anything on me from a technical point of view. Franco Baldini will not influence me or tell me who to buy. For me, though, Franco can be a resource. We need collaboration. If things don’t happen as I said, I will leave.
I spoke to his agent and told him I’d like him to stay. The will to renew his contract is there but we must not overdo it. At the right figures, he deserves it but we can’t give him the money he’ll earn in China. As I said, I won’t keep anyone here by force.
Can Strootman return?
At this moment, many suggestions are being made as are our evaluations. Some leak out to the media while others don’t. There was an idea, but it was very remote.
Could Icardi be a goal?
He is an excellent striker. He has problems with Inter and I don’t know what the club will do so I can’t answer.
Who is the player who is being closed for today?
I won’t say who.