The same report from Gianluca di Marzio that squelched Gennaro Gattuso or Roberto De Zerbi to Fiorentina (via FiorentinaNews) indicated that Daniele Pradè and Joe Barone have turned their focus to Hellas Verona manager Ivan Jurić, who was supposedly a target this past summer before Rocco Commisso decided to roll with Giuseppe Iachini.
Jurić, 45, has done a heck of a job with Verona, who have the smallest payroll in Serie A; he led them to an astonishing 9th-place finish last year—their first back in the top tier after a season-long absence—and has them in 10th this year. He also got Crotone into Serie A for the first time and had three (rather unsuccessful) stints at Genoa as well.
Stylistically, he’s a Gian Piero Gasperini disciple, having worked under him as both a player and a coach. He likes the same man-marking throughout midfield and the same intense pressure without the ball. Perhaps because he hasn’t ever worked with a roster brimming with technical ability, his teams have usually played on the counterattack.
Indeed, his Verona side are sort of bizarre in that they’ve put the fewest shots on target in the league but have the joint-5th best xG per shot; basically, their finishing is really bad but they get into good areas a lot, which makes you think that, with some better attackers (Dušan Vlahović, anyone?), he could do some very good things.
He’s favored a 3-4-2-1 shape throughout his career, and while Fiorentina certainly have the personnel for it, he’d have to adapt a bit as well. For example, he usually asks his strikers to run in behind or hold up play rather than score; it’s really the midfielders and wingbacks who carry the burden of both creating and finishing.
It’s easy to imagine him turning Sofyan Amrabat (who was superb under him last year) and Erick Pulgar into a fantastic double pivot. It’s equally easy to imagine him unlocking Gaetano Castrovilli as he has Mattia Zaccagni. In fact, given his ability to spin gold out of uh not gold, it’s easy to imagine him squeezing the most out of this Viola squad, especially since he has a reputation for overachieving despite inconsistent backing in the mercato.
His current contract runs through 2023, but he’s also made comments about the Gialloblu management not investing enough (cue ominous music) and could be on the move this summer, while his stock is at its highest. Fiorentina seems like a perfect spot for him, as it’d be the biggest club on his CV and has a squad that should fit his methods, but it all comes down to Pradè’s willingness and/or ability to provide him assurances of support.
Jurić would be as good a choice as any to lead this team, but even his magic wouldn’t be enough to paper over the cracks that have sprung up throughout the organization. With a little bit of luck and a lot of work, though, he could be the man to start the turnaround, especially if Verona’s willing to help out a club with whom they’ve historically had a good relationship.