An American revolution is taking shape at AS Roma

New Roma owner Thomas DiBenedetto hopes to steer the Serie A club into a "new era

luis enrique
Luis Enrique quit as Barcelona B coach at the end of last season Photo: fcbarcelona.ca

luis enrique

As Liverpool’s American Revolution takes shape under Fenway Sports Group in England, Thomas DiBenedetto is aiming to restore AS Roma to the pinnacle of Italian football.

An American entrepreneur who completed his purchase of Roma in April, DiBenedetto has already implemented a number of changes at the club ““ most significantly the hiring of former Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique.

The American is eager to bring a new successful era to Roma but he has been careful to warn the club’s ambitious supporters that the rejuvenation process he has planned will take time.

“The fans must be patient, Roma wasn’t built in a day,” the American businessman said at his first news conference last month.

“We have a huge amount of top quality talent, but some of it is still very young and young players make mistakes. It will take patience.

“A new era is just about to begin, an era which will change the way football is played, with new management, an ambition and a dream which the fans will share.

“This dream will take some time to come true, but it’s a dream which all of us will work for and we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”

The departures of key figures including Philippe Mexès to AC Milan, Mirko Vučinić to Juventus, Jérémy Ménez to PSG and John Arne Riise to Fulham represent the tearing down of Roma’s foundation as Enrique attempts to rebuild.

The 41-year-old has already identified Netherlands international Maarten Stekelenburg as the club’s first choice goalkeeper ““ bought from Ajax for €6m (£5.3m).

And in front of Stekelenburg will be experienced Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze ““ formerly of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Marseille. His arrival will counteract the sale of defensive stalwarts Mexes and Riise.

The 33-year-old is equally comfortable on the left or in the centre of defence and he will bring a wealth of experience to a Roma side often lacking defensive stability ““ last season they conceded more goals than relegated Sampdoria.

Roma have furthered strengthened their defensive options with the recruitment of two exciting youngsters from La Liga and Ligue 1.

Sporting Gijón’s José Ángel is a promising left-back who is a regular Spain international at under-21 level. And he will be joined by France Under-20 right-back Loïc Nego, who made 13 appearances for Nantes last season.

Highly-rated attacking midfielder Erik Lamela sealed a move to the Italian capital earlier in the summer, signing four-year deal for a fee of €11m (£9.73m).

The 19-year-old Argentine joins Roma from River Plate and has been touted as a possible eventual replacement for the 34-year-old Roma captain Francesco Totti.

Most notably perhaps, Enrique has also secured the signature of compatriot Bojan Krkić from Barcelona.

The 21-year-old has been overshadowed at Camp Nou by the success of fellow La Masia graduates Lionel Messi and Pedro in recent seasons and the Spain international has now been given the opportunity to further develop in Italy.

DiBenedetto’s project may be in it’s first year but Roma now appear well positioned to challenge for domestic honours.

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