Roma in advanced talks with Fonseca over vacant coaching job

Paulo Fonseca Shakhtar Donetsk
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The Serie A side are looking to recover from a disappointing 2018-19 campaign and have been impressed by the work of the Shakhtar Donetsk boss

Paulo Fonseca is now the leading candidate to take over as Roma’s next coach, Goal understands.

Fonseca, who has just completed a third consecutive league and cup double in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, is currently in negotiations with the Italian capital club over their vacant coaching post and developments are expected as soon as this week.

The 46-year-old Portuguese remains under contract at Shakhtar until 2020 and Roma would have to pay a release clause to secure his services, but that is not expected to derail any deal.

New Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi is liaising with Fonseca’s agent, Marco Abreu, over his arrival, sources close to the negotiations have confirmed.

Fonseca has won widespread praise for his work in Ukraine, having joined in 2016 to take over from Shakhtar club legend Mircea Lucescu.

Despite not being able to play in their own home ground, the Donbass Arena, due to the ongoing conflict in the region, Fonseca has kept Shakhtar ahead of the chasing pack and helped the team qualify for the Champions League knockout stages last season. They were eliminated over two legs by Roma, who were nonetheless impressed by the astute tactical preparations of the Shakhtar coach.

Fonseca’s previous coaching jobs include Porto as well as Braga, where he won a Portuguese Cup. He has overseen the development of players like Fred, who moved to Manchester United last summer for £53 million ($67m), and current Everton standout Bernard.

Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi as well as Bologna’s Sinisa Mihajlovic had also been linked with the Roma post but Fonseca has now emerged as the clear front-runner.

Roma finished sixth in a hugely disappointing Serie A campaign and will play in the Europa League second qualification round this summer.

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Director of football Monchi left the club in March soon after the dismissal of coach Eusebio Di Francesco, having overseen a poor transfer campaign last season.

Di Francesco saw his side eliminated from the Coppa Italia by a 7-1 scoreline against Fiorentina in January and slipped to Champions League elimination against Porto in the second knockout round.

Roma are set for a major overhaul this summer with owner James Pallotta in an open letter to fans last week describing the season as a "complete disaster".