It can be hard to remember as Fiorentina ball up Lazio and toss them into the garbage, but the Viola still desperately need a new manager for next year. Giuseppe Iachini has guided them away from relegation for the second consecutive season and deserves the club’s respect and gratitude, but he’s simply not a tenable option for a team that’s not battling the drop every year.
Finding that replacement has been, in a word, fraught. Reasonably credible reports of Luciano Spalletti, Maurizio Sarri, Roberto De Zerbi, Genarro Gattuso, and Ivan Jurić have all arrived and fizzled in the cold light of day, leaving the supporters increasingly anxious. However, this bit of news from the very reliable Niccolò Ceccarini indicates that maybe the breakdown in talks with Gattuso wasn’t as severe as we were led to believe.
Gattuso ormai a un passo dalla Fiorentina, segnali molto positivi, contratto biennale, dopo la fine del campionato gli ultimi dettagli— Niccolò Ceccarini (@NickCecca) May 11, 2021
Translation: “Gattuso now a step away from Fiorentina, signs very positive, 2-year contract, final details after the end of the season”
While Rino may not be everyone’s first (or second, or third) choice as Viola boss, having him in place well ahead of next season marks the club’s first positive personnel decision in what feels like years. This will give him plenty of time to meet with sporting director Daniele Pradè and company to sort out who to target in the summer transfer window. It also indicates to current and prospective players that the team’s brain trust has them on a good trajectory, which is of enormous importance.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this development isn’t about Gattuso himself. We heard a few weeks ago that he’d rejected Fiorentina after Pradè refused to provide any guarantees that superstar striker Dušan Vlahović would stay in Florence next year. Along with whispers about Vlahović extending his contract at some point soon, this news could indicate that the Serbian hitman plans to stick around Tuscany for at least one more season.
For the rest of the squad, Gattuso should provide the emotional center to get everyone on the same page, much as Iachini has done. The former Italy midfielder will likely switch to a back four, instill a more patient mentality in possession, and look to press significantly more. Beyond that, it’s tough to read what his preferred style is: at both AC Milan and Napoli, he inherited talented squads that already had specific styles of play and didn’t change all that much.
As we’ve seen in this twisty, turny coaching saga, this could be more misinformation from any number of parties. Fiorentina may be in touch with someone else and are fine letting everyone assume they’ve already nailed down their man. Gattuso could use this as leverage to extend his contract with the Partenopei if they finish in the Champions League places. Newcastle and Juventus (nice parent and child synchronicity) have also been tipped as potential destinations for the World Cup winner and might want this rumor as a smokescreen as well.
However, Ceccaroni’s a solid enough source that it seems safe to assume that Fiorentina has found its next manager, even if we have to wait a few more weeks for everything to go official. This is a move that smacks of organizational competence, which shouldn’t feel like such a big deal but could go a long way to restoring faith in the club management and restoring the Viola to the upper echelon of Serie A.