The dominoes are continuing to fall following Stefano Pioli’s resignation as Fiorentina manager. The most recent story crawling its way out of the aftermath is that the Viola may opt to hire former boss Vincenzo Montella to take over immediately rather than waiting for Eusebio di Francesco, who wouldn’t sign on until the end of the season.
While Cousin Vinnie remains a very popular figure in Florence due to the delightful football his teams played from 2012-2015, resulting in a string of 4th-place finishes based around possession and intricate combination play in attack. However, his departure was marred by acrimony from the Della Valle brothers. To refresh your memory, il Aeroplanino wanted assurances from ownership that they would invest further in the club, leading to a war of words and eventually the manager being sacked.
Given the failures he’s suffered at every stop since his feats in Florence, it may be that he’s willing to bury the hatchet now. For the DVs, bringing back the last coach who brought sustained success to the club would be a coup and could go a long way towards quieting the rumbles of discontent from a fanbase that demands more positivity and more wins.
Too, it’s hard to imagine how Montella, famed for requiring technical quality in the midfield, would deal with the current state of the team. While Jordan Veretout could have stepped into those magical Montella engine rooms, the likes of Marco Benassi, Gerson, Bryan Dabo, and Christian Nørgaard don’t look like the types of players who’d thrive under him; incoming prospects Hamed Junior Traorè and Szymon Żurkowski have both been the type to drive forward in possession rather than unlock a defense with passing to this point in their careers.
Given the reports that Fiorentina have already agreed to terms with former Sassuolo and AS Roma boss Eusebio di Francesco, this could be baseless speculation. But some of the sources are reasonably reliable, so we’re willing to give the rumors some credence. EdF looks like a better fit for the roster as currently constructed, and the optics of the Viola bailing out of a deal they’d already agreed to with aren’t great.
Whoever takes the reins, though, will have an uphill battle next year (or maybe this year): Federico Chiesa, Jordan Veretout, Cristiano Biraghi, and Nikola Milenković have all been tapped for moves away, gutting the roster of talent. Montella’s appointment feels like a desperate attempt to get something from the Coppa Italia, but it’s hard to see the squad reacting well to a brand new style of play so late in the day. At this point, it might be wiser to wait on di Francesco and let those golden Montella years fade into happy memory rather than watch him spoil his reputation in Florence.