With four games to go in the season, many clubs are already looking to the future. The first order of business is deciding who will be sitting on the club’s benches, so here’s a list of available options
The former Chelsea manager has a wide range of options between clubs who will definitely need a coach next season (Roma and Milan) and those who may look for a change (Juventus and Inter) if right candidate comes around. While Roma have been pushing hard to sign him and are trying to make their job more attractive by hiring Conte’s former teammate and friend Gianluca Petrachi to be the sporting director, Conte is taking time to ponder his options. He could take a page out of the Lippi and Trapattoni playbook by returning to Juventus, but at the moment the bianconeri’s first choice appears to be Guardiola, who unlike Conte, would bring a radically different approach than Allegri’s to the club. Inter would offer Conte the opportunity to build a new BBC around Skriniar, De Vrij and Godin while Milan would give him a clean slate to build open like when he first joined Juventus as a manager
Gian Piero Gasperini
Atalanta is the best story line in Serie A this season so it’s not surprising to see their manager getting a lot of buzz. Despite starting three center backs, Gasperini plays a free flowing offensive style with a team that runs much more than your average Serie A club, the only knock on him is the uncertainty on him continuing this success at a bigger club after failing during a brief stay at Inter (you could also point to the fact many of his former players have struggled after moving to a larger stage). Should Atalanta make it to the Champions League, Gasperini may decide to just stay but he could be an attractive fallback option for both Roma and Milan.
Eusebio Di Francesco
On one hand the former Sassuolo manager’s stock rose a bit because it became pretty obvious Monchi was the person most responsible for Roma’s struggles this season, but on the other his replacement Claudio Ranieri has fixed the defense and made Roma more consistent. Di Francesco could be a fallback option for Milan or a good replacement for Gasperini should he move on from Atalanta- in addition Sampdoria could be an option should they decide to make a change from Giampaolo. If you were trying to sell Di Francesco stock you could still point to his success in Europe since he did get Roma out of the group stage in the Champions League for two years in a row and the fact he did launch Under and Zaniolo.
After a very brief experience at Sporting, the former Milan manager completely turned around Bologna’s season after replacing Pippo Inzaghi and could parlay this success into a bigger job while knowing he has a great fallback plan by staying put. Should Ferrero keep Sampdoria, he could be tempted by idea of a reunion with his former manager after recently describing him as “the best in the world”
While Mihajlovic’s stock is way up in recent weeks, the opposite can be said for Sampdoria’s current manager. Ironically the blucerchiati’s heavy loss to Bologna a few weeks ago was arguably the lowest point of their season, it caused sporting director’s Walter Sabatini’s abrupt resignation- things didn’t get better last weekend since Samp also at home to Lazio. Considering that there were already questions marks on Giampaolo’s ability to handle stress after an odd situation at Brescia a few years ago, it’s likely that this recent collapse takes job such as Milan and Roma off the table.
While Parma was one of the best story lines in Serie A in the first half of the season, once they were essentially safe from relegation they became pretty anonymous. But make no mistake about it, never being in danger of going back to Serie B is quite the achievement for any newly promoted team. But considering how many more established managers are available on the market, D’Aversa is likely to stay put next season.
Roberto De Zerbi
While D’Aversa is an old school catenaccio type coach, De Zerbi has been making a name for himself as a great offensive mind dating back to his days at Foggia. Sassuolo have had a very solid season despite selling one of their best players in January in Boateng and De Zerbi could be an excellent option for Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Atalanta- all clubs known for valuing attractive football- in the near future.
On the bright side, Fiorentina haven’t been any better since Vincenzo Montella replaced him, but it’s hard to argue that Pioli’s stock has improved since he was let go at Inter. At this point, Pioli looks like the type of manager who will be one of the first to be called during the season when a club decides to sack their current manager.
Speaking of managers sacked during the season, arguably the most puzzling decision in recent months was Preziosi’s decision to sack Ballardini after he had launched Piatek on his way to the upper table in Serie A. Since then, Genoa have replaced Ballardini’s successor Juric with Prandelli, who is now also on the hot seat. Look for Genoa’s president to swallow his pride and bring back Ballardini sooner rather than later since he’s still under contract.