Times Online has an interview with Fabio Capello where he talked about what he did to bring Batistuta to Roma in 2000.

In 2000, Capello identified Gabriel Batistuta as the man to deliver the Scudetto to Roma, the serial underachievers. But Franco Sensi, the president, said that Roma could not afford him . . .

Sensi would need to be persuaded, but Capello and [Franco] Baldini could not do it alone. So they called Mario Sconcerti, editor of Corriere dello Sport, and invited him round to dinner. Baldini revealed that he had been sounding Fiorentina out about the possibility of bringing in Batistuta, but that Sensi was very reticent, not wanting to spend the necessary money.

Maybe, just maybe, if Corriere ran with the story, it would gather steam, fans would get excited and a whole campaign to bring Batistuta to the capital would spring into action more or less spontaneously. Roma would get their man and the paper would sell a shedload of copies that summer, narrating the ins and outs of the deal.

The plan worked perfectly. Two days later, Corriere broke the story. Sconcerti remembers going to work that morning and seeing mothers dropping off their kids at school clutching a copy of the newspaper and animatedly discussing how Batistuta would link with [Vincenzo] Montella and [Francesco] Totti. Rome’s famous local radio stations were abuzz around the clock with Batistuta chatter.

As for Sensi, every time he appeared in public he was greeted with applause and back-slapping, as people thanked him for delivering Batistuta to Roma. Sensi sighed and commented that they had better move quickly, otherwise he’d never hear the end of it. And so a deal was done for £23.5 million, still a world record for a player over the age of 30.

Everyone was happy. Fiorentina got some much-needed cash. Batistuta got a legitimate chance to win the Scudetto. Corriere dello Sport’s sales went through the roof. Sensi basked in his new-found popularity as the club’s generous benefactor.

And Capello got the striker he craved. But it didn’t end there. Baldini and Capello persuaded Sensi to spend heavily that summer. It was the only way to keep up with Lazio, they told him. Sensi, always more of a fan than a businessman, got out his chequebook and didn’t put it away until the transfer window had closed. “But this team is complete from top to bottom,” Capello said. “With the squad we have put together, we simply cannot fail.”
Roma won the title for the first time in 18 years. Batistuta scored 20 goals. Full article.

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