Fabio Capello's closest aide in the England camp will ask the Football Association if he can go part-time once the team have qualified for Euro 2012 – providing they do so – in order that he can take over the job of director of football at Roma in Serie A.
Franco Baldini, Capello's general manager, and the key point of contact between the England manager and his players, has been courted by Roma ever since the takeover by the American businessman Thomas Di Benedetto's family was first proposed. Baldini will take the job full-time when he, like Capello and the rest of the Italian staff, comes to the end of his contract at the Football Association in July next year.
Baldini, 50, has been Capello's key adviser over the last three and a half years and has worked with him in the past at Roma and Real Madrid. A highly-respected operator with contacts all over Europe, Baldini is a familiar figure by Capello's side.
Roma's new sporting director Walter Sabatini said that Baldini had agreed to go to the club. "Baldini will be here in the next few months once he has resolved his contract with England," he said. "As soon as he is free, he will return to Rome."
England's final game in Group G is against Montenegro on 7 October and should they fail to win the group they could still go through automatically as the best-performing second-place team in qualification. Failing that they would be involved in a play-off against another second placed team in mid-November.
Baldini will speak to FA chairman David Bernstein over the next few weeks about working for Roma on a part-time basis after that. He has been with them as a consultant on an informal basis since the Di Benedetto takeover in April and had some input into the appointment of coach Luis Enrique.
Baldini is a fluent English speaker which has been a major advantage for Capello during his battles with the language since his arrival in January 2008. It is Baldini who has been on hand to explain the finer points of Capello's house rules to the players and it was he who headed off John Terry after the player's fateful promise to put Capello right after his press conference in South Africa.
Baldini has been close to leaving before now but it is understood that he feels it is his responsibility to see his deal through and not leave Capello, with the Italian still having not recovered from England's dismal showing at the World Cup.