“I could never say no to the Viola”. Those were the words of one Cesare Prandelli after Fiorentina’s defeat last weekend’s defeat in Rome. With Guiseppe Iachini’s future on the ropes, reports from Italy say that Prandelli, the longest-tenured coach in Fiorentina history, has been chosen as Iachini’s short-term successor. Prandelli is rumored to have agreed to a deal that would see him take charge through the end of the season, with rumors of a move to a technical director or academy role afterward.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Prandelli is a Fiorentina legend through and through. In his five seasons in Florence, it was Prandelli who reestablished the club’s presence in Italy following bankruptcy in 2002. Prandelli won 96 Serie A matches and lost 54, leading Fiorentina to the Champion’s League twice. Many Fiorentina fan-favourites, such as Adrian Mutu, Sebastian Frey, and Alberto Gilardino were at their best under Prandelli. His up-tempo attacking football endeared him to the entire city of Florence, where he still resides today.
Since Fiorentina, Prandelli had a semi-successful run with the Italian national team, leading the Azzurri to the final of Euro 2012 before flaming out in the group stages of the following World Cup. Since then, Prandelli has not lasted more than half a season at any of the four clubs he’s managed, including Al-Nasr of the Arabian Gulf League (ouch).
We’ll dive more into Prandelli’s tactics should he be appointed, but rest assured he would drop the 3-5-2 favored by Iachini. Whether he’s able to adapt back into being the manager of a Serie A side remains to be seen, as other than a six-month stint with relegation-threatened Genoa two seasons ago, Prandelli has been out of Serie A for more than a decade.
It’s important to note that Prandelli’s hiring would not rule out hiring a new manager during or after the season, as his managerial contract would be in the vein of Iachini- a one-year deal, maybe with the option for another. At this point, it’s fairly obvious that top target Maurizio Sarri will not be available for at least a few weeks, as he tries to untangle himself from Juventus. Prandelli may be able to inject short-term energy back into Fiorentina, before taking up a position in the front office, which may be a win-win for everyone. Prandelli does have experience in an academy role, having been a youth coach with Atalanta from 1990 to 1997.
Fiorentina needs a change of manager, but with Prandelli, is it worth the risk? He is a fan favorite, but he has not been successful for the better part of a decade. It would be painful for all of us if results don’t improve under his tenure, as none of us want him to tarnish his reputation with the club and fans. Sentimental value aside, hiring Prandelli will be a risk for Fiorentina, but one that could pay dividends, especially in a front-office role in the future.
Are you in favor of Prandelli’s return?
This poll is closed
Yes, sign me up
Yes, if he’s here for this season only