Serie A finds itself in a rather unusual predicament at present.
While managers tend to find themselves victims of the dreaded sack at an alarming rate in Italy, very rarely do we see so many vacancies occur all at once.
The division’s top side have seen their leading man leave his post in favour of pastures new, while the other giants of Italian football also head into the summer period without a permanent face in the dugout. Interesting times await for fans of a whole host of Serie A sides, with names linked to unquestionably lucrative positions, although none are as of yet confirmed.
Thus, let us take a look at who might be in charge of some of the league’s biggest sides when the 2019/20 season kicks off again on August 24.
Prediction: Maurizio Sarri
Many felt it had been coming for a while, but Massimiliano Allegri finally called time on a magnificent Juventus career that included five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia, two Supercoppa Italiana and two runner-up Champions League medals. Who can beat that?
Well, Maurizio Sarri’s name has been flung about quite vigorously among various reports as the primary candidate to take on the challenge. The Italian knows the division inside out and a season of constant unrest at Chelsea had fans at one point calling for his head halfway through the campaign. Nevertheless, he has guided Chelsea to a third place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League triumph. He may very well look to rid himself of the constant scrutiny of the English press and seek the relative comfort of managing the best side in Italy.
Other candidates: Antonio Conte, Didier Deschamps, Simone Inzaghi, Pep Guardiola.
Prediction: Antonio Conte
You have to feel for Luciano Spalletti. The Italian, who had a contract until 2021, led Inter into the Champions League for the first time in six years in his first season in charge. Granted, a group stage exit wouldn’t have pleased the club’s hierarchy, but he successfully guided them back into the competition with a fourth place finish this term. Then he gets sacked.
Such has been the immense speculation surrounding Antonio Conte’s proposed immediate appointment this summer, you feel anything Spalletti did wouldn’t have sufficed. Now, it would take a monumental turn around for anyone other than the former Chelsea boss to take the reins.
Somebody well versed in the intricacies of Italian football, Conte will have the task of taming the indecisive Mauro Icardi and steering the club back to the upper echelons of European football. His track record in Serie A will surely put him in good stead to do just that.
Other Candidates: Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone, Esteban Cambiasso.
Prediction: Simone Inzaghi
Gennaro Gattuso resigned from his role in charge of Milan after missing out on Champions League qualification by a single point at the beginning of the week. What he left was a club itching to return to their former glory, but in need of someone to steer them on their way there.
Inzaghi has now completed his third season in charge of Lazio, during which time he has secured two fifth-place finishes as well as a Super Coppa and a Coppa Italia title. A poor finish to the campaign saw the club finish eighth, yet the brother of former Milan striker Filippo has seen his stock continue to rise as a manager.
The Italian favours a pressing game, unlike the more defensive-minded approach of Gattuso, and could see those fans who returned to the San Siro since one of their heroes was in charge keep coming back in favour of a more eye-pleasing style of play.
Other Candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Eusebio di Francesco, Mark van Bommel.
Prediction: Carlo Ancelotti
With the Serie A title secured, Juventus went on a torrid run of results at the end of the season to make the gap to Napoli in second seem slightly less colossal. Three points from the remaining five games meant Ancelotti’s side finished 11 points adrift, but nevertheless it doesn’t hide the fact that the Partenopei are so far off the Old Lady that something might need to be done to freshen things up.
Does that mean the former Real Madrid boss will get sacked? No. You would struggle to find a better man to lead the club forward than the 59-year-old who, for all intents and purposes, can’t do much more at present – such is Juventus’ class.
Other Candidates: Maurizio Sarri, Santiago Solari, Julen Lopetegui.
Prediction: Marco Giampaolo
Claudio Ranieri took temporary charge of the club following the Giallorossi’s decision to sack Eusebio Di Francesco in March, although he is now set to leave the club.
One candidate in the frame in Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo, who is supposedly growing frustrated with the club’s lack of ambition. He is seeking more than the annual mid-table finishes and would suit the capital club due to their shared aspirations. He adopts a 4-3-1-2 formation that has proved successful with a side that so often sell their best assets, yet has still maintained commendable Serie A finishes.
Given the finances and structures in place at Roma, Giampaolo could be the key to returning to the Champions League.
Other Candidates: Gennaro Gattuso, Roberto Di Zerbi.
Prediction: Sinisa Mihajlovic
Sentiment may take over here as there are a few mid-table sides who may have their managers pinched if Inzaghi is leave the club as expected. What puts Mihajlovic as the frontrunner is his six-year spell with the club as a player – during which time he won the Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
In terms of management ability, he led Bologna to a tenth-place finish this season on a shoe-string budget with his preferred 4-2-3-1 set up, which allows for plenty of flexibility depending on the squad at his disposal. As someone who knows the Biancocelesti, and the city, he may be chosen ahead of rival candidates, much in the way Inzaghi was promoted from coaching the youth side due to his personal attachment to the club.
Other Candidates: Roberto De Zerbi, Fabio Liverani.