Fiorentina announced this morning that the club has exercised the option to keep manager Giuseppe Iachini for the 2020-2021 season. The 56-year-old former Viola midfielder will look to build on an uneven start in Florence that saw the team survive a brief flirtation with the relegation zone before moving up to its current 10th place.
Seen as an expert in getting teams promoted from Serie B, which he’s accomplished four times, Iachini’s previous stops in the top flight have been Chievo Verona, Brescia, Siena, Palermo, Udinese, Sassuolo, and Empoli; he’s clearly got plenty of experience in Serie A, albeit with clubs that tend to hover around the drop zone. Fiorentina is the highest-profile team he’s ever coached. With Rocco Commisso willing to throw some cash around, it’s also probably the freest-spending outfit he’s been a part of.
As a specialist in combative, defensively compact sides, Beppe’s teams aren’t going to win any prizes for aesthetics. His reliance on a fairly inflexible 3-5-2 (the 3-4-3 that he tried out a month ago was undeniably a failure) means that the Viola may not have many surprises to spring on opponents, but will be quite well-drilled in their style of play: a low block, a willingness to suffer, and counterattacks started by long passes into the channels.
With a midfield next year that looks like it could be one of the best in the league—Sofyan Amrabat, Gaetano Castrovilli, and Erick Pulgar, with Alfred Duncan and Marco Benassi on the bench—and an attack that features wingers in Federico Chiesa, Franck Ribery, and Riccardo Sottil, he may need to change things up to get the most from his squad.
Nobody can doubt that he’s reached the players, though, and that’s more important than any tactical nous. He’s convinced wingers Federico Chiesa and Rachid Ghezzal to play wingback and central midfield, respectively, and put in the requisite defensive shifts. Patrick Cutrone has evolved from a pure poacher to a hard-working hold-up player who drops in as an extra midfielder out of possession. Take a look at Chiesa’s celebration with him against Bologna for further evidence.
It’s probably a smart move from the Fiorentina brass; a third coach in under a year would destabilize the project significantly, especially if the new one didn’t immediately succeed. With a succession of untested or limited names linked to the post—Eusebio di Francesco, Marco Giampaolo, Roberto de Zerbi—it makes sense not to shell out on a new manager of roughly the same ability and shake things up yet again.
That said, Fiorentina are chock-full of talent on paper and should, at the very least, push for European competition next year. Another season in the double-digit places on the table isn’t acceptable, and Iachini will need to answer some questions to prevent that from happening.
For now, though, we offer our congratulations and wish him the best. He’s rarely had a summer transfer market to build a squad to his specifications (and never one with Rocco’s financial backing), so we look forward to seeing how he molds this team over the next year. Best of luck, Beppe.