Roma's Luciano Spalletti Resigns: Thinker Replaced By Tinkerman

Matthew MaloneyCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

My first reaction as a Roma fan—shock.

My second reaction as a Roma fan—horror.

Shock at learning Luciano Spalletti, the club's most successful coach in recent times called it a day at the Olympico, completely out of the blue; followed swiftly by horror, upon learning that he will soon be replaced by a coach who has been sacked in three of his last four coaching positions.

All this of course comes on the back of a *horrendously dreadful* two-game losing streak—yes you read that right—two games.

The latter of these defeats came last weekend to a team widely acknowledged to be Inter's sole title contenders this season. A team who had outspent Roma to the tune of €50m in the transfer market this summer.

The other loss coming at Genoa, away, and after the game had been marred by a hugely controversial decision, which unfortunately had gone against the Romans.

Of course as alluded to above, the resignation may make some sense when one considers Spalletti didn't have two pennies to rub together throughout the summer; Aquilani was sold, Montella retired, and Panucci departed for Parma leaving Guberti, signed from newly promoted Bari on a free, the only new face at Trigoria.

Theoretically Spalletti may have felt frustrated as other clubs around Roma at the top of the table splashed the cash. Heck, even crosstown rivals Lazio managed to stump up over €20m for Zarate during the summer!

But on further reflection the resignation may ultimately be a culmination of numerous events that occurred during the preceding months and indeed, years.

Remember, towards the end of last season, ironically it was Spalletti who was being touted to replace Ranieri at Juventus. Although he was to turn down the opportunity a further development concerning a link to Zenit St. Petersburg later arose during the summer.

One must also take Spalletti's allusions to his players 'not following orders' at face value: Had Spalletti lost the dressing room?

There have been well publicised falling outs with the likes of Cicinho, De Rossi, Panucci, and of course Mancini on Spalletti's part, but if push came to shove, did the players shove?

Finally Spalletti may of asked himself, had he taken the club as far as he could?—I don't like saying it, but I'd imagine a qualified 'yes' was the answer to this question.

Considering the budget available to him and taking into account the steady loss of key players every summer, Spalletti's various thinly veiled references to possible takeovers and new investment in hindsight were probably what Spalletti may have felt he genuinely needed in order to continue his "project" in Rome.

But sadly, despite interest from abroad, nothing concrete was forthcoming.

I have a feeling Spalletti's reign will be remembered fondly in the years to come though.

Nobody can say the football wasn't pleasing to watch. As one of the the orignator's of the "strikerless formation" in Serie A and Europe, Spalletti's reign will be forever remembered by tactics afficionados.

Spaletti's 11 consecutive record breaking victories culminating in the win over perennial rivals Lazio in the 05-06 season is the stuff of Roma club legend.

Lest we forget we should also probably highlight his three consecutive runners up finishes, two Coppa Italia, two CL quarter final appearances and a Supercoppa to his Roma legacy.

So where does this leave the club?

Ranieri is not a winning coach. But he is a steady hand.

Compared to the pressure's of life at Chelsea and Juventus, a hopeful target of a top four finish may not be too much to ask of the Roman.

That said it could all go even more pear shaped by Christmas.

I remain cautiously pessimistic, as always.


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