While Jose Mourinho’s debut season at Roma delivered mixed returns overall, the Portuguese reaffirmed his reputation as a serial winner by lifting the inaugural Conference League title in Tiriana.
This means that Mourinho’s only trophyless tenure came as manager of Spurs, while it has given Roma fans hope that they may be on the cusp of more success ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Certainly, Roma have been busy in the summer transfer window, adding quality and experience in equal measure. But is Mourinho about to challenge for the Serie A title with his charges?
Is the Signing of Paulo Dybala Game Changing?
While Mourinho has only won two league titles since 2010 (the last of which came with Chelsea in 2015), he retains a veritable X-factor and innate ability to win trophies both domestically and on the continent.
This is probably why Roma are priced at around 14/1 to win Serie A next season, with these odds relatively short if you intend to use the new bonus code for Natural8 Bet and back the Giallorossi to achieve this aim in 2022/23.
Another reason for this is the surprise signing of Paulo Dybala, with the mercurial Argentinian having been in high demand after leaving Juventus and becoming a free agent. Rather than opting for AC or Inter Milan and a place in the UCL, however, he selected Roma and the opportunity to play for a truly legendary manager.
There’s no doubt that the Portuguese would have been a major attraction for Dybala, with his charisma, reputation and man management skills having proven a genuine draw for so many other world class players down the years.
Dybala could also be a game changer and potential talisman in the capital, as despite a challenging few years in Turin, he returned to something like his best last season while plundering 15 goals (and providing six assists) in 39 appearances.
How Dybala Will Energise Mourinho’s 3-4-1-2 Formation
Dybala will most likely play in a relatively free attacking role in Mourinho’s now preferred 3-4-1-2 formation, supplementing a forward line led by Nicolo Zaniolo and the prolific Tammy Abraham.
To facilitate this and ensure that Dybala has the positional flexibility to thrive in the capital, Mourinho has also secured the services of Nemanja Matic on a free transfer from Manchester United.
The Serbian midfielder has previously played for the Portuguese at Chelsea and Old Trafford, while his physical strength, positional awareness and quality on the ball will create a more solid midfield and effective line of protection in front of the back three.
Of course, there were concerns about Matic’s pace and mobility while playing in the Premier League, but this is less of a worry given the slower pace of Serie A and relative lack of physicality.
Certainly, these two players will add a fascinating meld of silk and steel to Roma’s midfield, while enabling Mourinho to field a front three that can arguably match anyone else of Serie A.
The Last Word
Ultimately, much will depend on Mourinho’s ability to get the best out of Dybala offensively, which may be a challenge given the Portuguese manager’s innate conservatism and relatively rigid tactical setups.
He does have form in this respect, of course, but Mourinho is arguably just as likely to alienate a creative free spirit (Paul Pogba, anyone?) as he is to inspire them to new heights.
Still, the potential is there for Mourinho to leverage all of his immense experience and lead Roma to a potential title charge in 2022/23. If he can, there’s time for him to add another league title to his resume and reaffirm his status as one of the game’s top managers.