Reports in Italy are fixated on news surrounding the probable sale of Roma to a group of US investors led by Thomas Di Benedetto who are rumoured to have made a bid averaging €130m to Unicredit, the creditor, or Italpetroli – the Sensi-owned oil company. Dealing exclusively with one another, Julian Movsesian, another member of the investment group, told Bloomberg: “We could be the proud owners in two weeks.”
So who is Di Benedetto? A Boston-born Italian with roots originating in Campania, he graduated from the Connecticut-based Trinity College in 1983 with a degree in economics. The married father of five worked in several industries across America, from banking to technology and currently holds several high-profile positions; he is President of Boston International group and a partner of the New England Sports Ventures – a sports investment company that owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC. He is said to have snuck to Roma twice to watch the Giallorossi in action, including the match at home against Inter on match day five which further fuelled his desire to purchase the club.
The Corriere dello Sport published a report on Saturday, outlining the five-step plan the Americans will hope to implement when taking over Roma. First and foremost will be fiscal consolidation. By adhering to financial fair-play rules, they hope to eventually double Roma’s €125m-a-year revenue. The plan to achieve this involves increasing advertising revenue and hopefully building a new stadium within the next eight years. They will look to immediately wipe out a loss approaching €30m this year and then pump some more money in to invest in the market.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, they hope to make Roma football club a household name, and believe they will be successful in doing this as the club represents a historic and cultural European capital city. According to reports in America, the investors realised that most Americans have only ever heard of Milan, Inter and Juventus and feel that by exploiting a gap in the market, they can put Roma on the map – increasing support and creating a brand. By focusing largely on expanding the merchandising sector, their aim is to allow fans from across the globe easy access to Roma’s full range of official merchandise, including original kits.
Management restructuring plays a large part in their plans. They hope to secure and appropriately define the positions of many crucial figures in management such as Daniele Prade and Bruno Conti, as well as defining a clear youth strategy with the aim of replicating Barcelona’s model. Whilst Rosella Sensi has suggested renewing Claudio Ranieri’s contract for the sake of bringing stability to the team, it is rumoured that the Americans are eyeing up the option of bringing in current Chelsea Manager Carlo Ancelotti – perhaps sending the Tinkerman to Liverpool. A possibility considering Ancelotti has never hidden his desire to coach the Roman side he once captained to glory.
However that’s not where it ends. Ideas have been put in place to increase season ticket holders, a number that has gradually been declining in recent years, while a shopping list of players, including names such as Didier Drogba and Gareth Bale, has been put together. With Daniele De Rossi likely to be the future Capitano, no wonder the fans are just as excited as the investors.