The phrase “Rome wasn't built in a day” is usually ones that fans roll out in order to back a struggling manager, insisting that time is needed to build something great. In Rome itself though, Rudi Garcia is proving it's not the case.
The Frenchman was lured from Lille by Roma owner James Pallotta as the third man to lead the revolution since the American took power at the Stadio Olimpico. Luis Enrique and Zdenek Zeman were both charged with the task of making Roma an Italian superpower once again, but both failed and neither saw a second season in charge.
Having made his reputation in France by winning the Ligue 1 title in the 2011, Garcia is bringing that winning mentality to the Italian capital, as his Roma side sit top of the league with seven wins from seven games, with 20 goals scored and just one conceded.
Talk of the Scudetto is obviously premature at this stage, with only seven games played, but their emphatic 3-0 demolition of Inter Milan at the San Siro on Saturday has given hope to the Giallorossi supoorters that they can clinch their first title win since 2001.
Backed by the board over the summer, Garcia used the money raised from the sales of Maarten Stekelenburg, Marquinhos, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Erik Lamela in order to sign Morgan De Sanctis, Maicon, young Croatian Tin Jedvaj, Mehdi Benatia, Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic, whilst he forged a reunion with Ivorian winger Gervinho, who enjoyed the most successful stage of his career whilst playing under Garcia for Lille.
Those signings have made the Roma faithful quickly forget about losing exciting prospects in Marquinhos and Lamela, and Garcia's brand of attractive yet defensively solid football has Roma leading the league, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets - the recipe for success that few managers manage to perfect.
With Palotta's backing in the transfer market, Garcia's tactical nous and a strong base of young players such as Strootman, Ljajic, Miralem Pjanic, Mattia Destro and Alessandro Florenzi, the foundations are in place for Roma to return to the pinnacle of Italian football after many years out of the spotlight.
They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but Garcia's early work with i Lupi suggests that the project is producing results quicker than expected. With money from the summer sales left over, Garcia will have a kitty to spend in January, and if he makes more signings that hit the ground running, Roma's wait for their fourth Scudetto could be over.
image: © Damien Cansse