The appointment of Jose Mourinho at Roma, upon first consideration, feels like one of the most seismic events in the club’s history.
This is a manager who has won practically everywhere he has been, conquering leagues in four different countries. A proven winner, he is one of the best at his job in history. How often can Roma attract people like that?
There may be some sceptics about Mourinho after his underwhelming spell in charge of Tottenham. But a return to Italy could be the fresh start he needs; the last time he managed in the country, he won consecutive league titles, the latter being part of a famous treble with Inter.
As Mourinho looks to turn a new leaf, so do Roma. While the instant reaction to his appointment was one of shock that the club could attract someone of his calibre, it seems a fitting moment for their paths to cross. Mourinho is a well-respected coach looking to repair a reputation that has faded somewhat in recent years; Roma are an iconic club who have been starved of success and want to get back to the glory days.
Who better to lead them there than Mourinho? The incoming coach should instil all the qualities Roma need to rediscover that winning mentality.
Always uncompromising, Mourinho accepts no less than the maximum effort from his players. That attitude has led to clashes with many down the years, but it will serve its purpose in Rome, where many players need a wake-up call to produce the appropriate levels of performance.
It’s a tough environment, which has historically caused issues for talented players and talented coaches. If you are not mentally prepared to be at Roma, the atmosphere can eat you alive. That has been the downfall of many good coaches and good men in recent years, but if anyone can overcome that pressure, it’s Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho has many of the leadership qualities Roma have lacked since stripping themselves of some of their most important players. What cannot be replaced on the pitch, may at least be to some degree on the sidelines. Mourinho can bring back the will to win that has eluded the club by transmitting his own ambition into his newly inherited squad.
This is somewhat uncharted territory for Roma, a place where big names are often made, not brought in when they are already established. Acquiring people of such stature is a rare occurrence in these quarters; the fact that many people’s instant reaction was to compare it to the arrival of Fabio Capello more than two decades ago shows how significant a move this is.
Whether Mourinho can achieve the same success Capello did in the capital remains to be seen. With the right patience for a long-term approach, this could be an astute decision. If it works, it will give the club the stability they have been craving.
Now, Roma can start their rebuild. The owners have sent a clear message ahead of one of the most important summers in recent memory and now there will be much anticipation about what will follow. Mourinho attracts big players, he gets results, he carries an aura that transcends the norm for people involved in this sport.
The last few years have been tough for Roma, but with Mourinho at the helm, they might just be able to start believing again.