Pallotta didn’t want to sell Salah and Alisson

Former Roma President James Pallotta admits he didn’t want to sell Mohamed Salah and Alisson and claims Monchi didn’t know who Nicolò Zaniolo was.

Pallotta became the 23rd President in Roma’s history in 2012. This past summer, he sold the club to Dan Friedkin.

In 2017, Pallotta hired Monchi as the new Roma sporting director, but things didn’t go as planned.

Former Roma President James Pallotta admits he didn’t want to sell Mohamed Salah and Alisson and claims Monchi didn’t know who Nicolò Zaniolo was.

Pallotta became the 23rd President in Roma’s history in 2012. This past summer, he sold the club to Dan Friedkin.

In 2017, Pallotta hired Monchi as the new Roma sporting director, but things didn’t go as planned.

“He was so against getting help. After one month it was just so clear. He felt that he had to prove he was Monchi, that he was not going to listen to anything we came up with from our data,” Pallotta told The Athletic.

“He wasn’t going to listen to anything we came up with internally. Nothing. Zero. The other mistake I made is, like, I should have realised that he calls himself Monchi. It’s like calling yourself Madonna. That should have been a warning sign for me,” he added.

The Sevilla director sold both Salah and Alisson to Liverpool in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

“Salah was a wonderful kid that I hated to lose,” Pallotta said.

“I loved him. I didn’t want to sell him. But I had no choice. Salah was going to go no matter what because he had something to prove.”

At that time, Roma were still a year away from exiting their FFP settlement agreement and had to balance the books.

For the same reason, they sold Alisson to Liverpool for €62.5m. “Why would I want to sell a guy like that?” Pallotta asked.

The signing of Nicolò Zaniolo is regarded as one of the smartest ones in the Monchi era, but the former Roma President revealed the Spaniard didn’t even know who Zaniolo was.

“Zaniolo was 100 per cent because of Baldini. Franco called up Inter and said: ‘We will not sell you Nainggolan, the owner wants Zaniolo and Monchi’s comment was, ‘who’s Zaniolo?’.’

“You know, even though some of the fans loved what the signings were until, like, three months later, I couldn’t understand a number of the signings and also at the same time, some of the players I’m like, ‘I don’t really know their history and he knows them, so he must know what they could do’ and things like that,” Pallotta continued.

“But I didn’t really understand it. I should have intervened earlier but again it’s like, well, ‘you hired him to do this, let him do it’. 

“Cengiz Under was a good signing. I don’t think he ever got to the level of where we thought he would be for sure. You look at Aleksandar Kolarov — I loved him. I thought he was just a great leader and a beast.” 

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