At this point, nobody’s pretending that Stefano Pioli will be the manager of Fiorentina next year. Aside from a Coppa Italia longshot, the only real storyline of interest to the fans right now is who’ll take over for the mister. If a report from TuttoMercatoWeb can be believed, you can pencil a name in on the team sheet for next year: Eusebio di Francesco.
According to TMW, Pantaleo Corvino and EdF have agreed to a 3-year contract that will pay €1.5 million annually. Of greater interest to fans, though, are the guarantees in the article: while the club admits that keeping hold of Federico Chiesa will be difficult this summer, they promise to invest heavily and return to European football. While we’ve certainly heard that song-and-dance before, it’s a bit easier to believe that di Francesco, whose sterling work at Sassuolo brought the Neroverdi from the lower reaches of calcio to the Europa League, could actually pull it off.
The report also puts paid to the Maurizio Sarri rumors, as it claims that the Tuscan would require a €6 million salary and a blood oath that Chiesa would stick around; neither really seem attainable right now. While FiorentinaNews.com believes that the top candidate is Parma boss Roberto d’Aversa, followed by Perugia’s Alessandro Nesta and Lecce’s ex-Viola midfielder Fabio Liverani, the site doesn’t provide any details or corroboration elsewhere.
Di Francesco, frankly, sounds perfect. He’s not yet 50 and possesses a reputation for vibrant, attacking football. His Sassuolo sides were a joy to watch, what with their width and directness, and he was pretty good at AS Roma last year. While the team’s performance this season left much to be desired, the lack of continuity brought on by Monchi’s yearly firesale of talent bears at least as much of the blame.
Even if you aren’t a huge fan of the Perugia-born coach, he brings a consistency and an identity that have been lacking since Vincenzo Montella and his silly hat were prowling the touchline in Florence. Should this report prove true, we’ll all know to expect a 4-3-3 with a focus on wing play, clever combinations from the midfielders, attacking fullbacks, and a versatile defensive scheme. It sounds like he’s eager for a chance to resurrect his career after his failure in the capital, too, as TMW says that he’ll wave the year’s worth of severance pay he’s owed in order to facilitate his move to Florence.
Plus, with a son who’s a professional, he could add perfectly to the second generation movement Fiorentina has going on. If he brings back the glasses, he’ll even have the flair necessary to shine in the technical area. We’re in.