Although the negotiations had been quite protracted, it sounded like Fiorentina were progressing in their efforts to ease manager Vincenzo Italiano away from Spezia. As recently as yesterday, most reports indicated that the Viola and the Aquilotti were ironing out the final details, while the latter had identified a replacement coach.
RAI journalist Sara Meini, though, threw a bucket of cold water on that narrative this morning with the news that Fiorentina were now considering Paulo Fonseca for the top job, but have also made contact with Rafael Benítez. If true (and Meini is rarely wrong), it’d be another setback as Daniele Pradè and company continue trying to find a mister.
#Fiorentina #allenatore adesso in pole c’è un tecnico straniero. La società viola non è mai stata convinta al 100% di Vincenzo #Italiano. Probabile #Fonseca, ma la società di Commisso sta parlando anche con #Benitez. Più difficile #Bielsa. Altri particolari in @TgrRaiToscana pic.twitter.com/wFiSqT4Hzy— Sara Meini (@SaraMeini) June 24, 2021
Translation: “The Fiorentina manager now in pole position is a foreign coach. The Viola company still isn’t 100% convinced by Vincenzo Italiano. Probably Fonseca, but Commisso’s company is also talking with Benitez. Bielsa too difficult.”
On the plus side, the feeling amongst most supporters is that Fonseca’s probably the best man for the job. He’s won trophies with Shakhtar Donetsk and his AS Roma were occasionally scintillating. He’s tactically flexible and generally pretty attack-minded. He dresses well. In short, he’s just about everything a Fiorentina manager should be.
Benítez is considerably less exciting. He had a solid spell at Newcastle from 2016-2019 but looked past it before that at Napoli and Real Madrid, indicating that he can still organize a defense decently and play on the counter but is completely unable to squeeze much out of a team that needs to be more proactive in the ball. He’s currently unemployed after leaving his post at Chinese side Dalian in January.
Since both Fonseca and Benítez are currently unemployed, Fiorentina won’t have to negotiate their release with a stubborn counterpart, which should open the way for them. Neither is represented by Jorge Mendes, either, so there’s that. However, it’s easy to see why fans are starting to get restless: first the Gennaro Gattuso debacle and now the collapse of the very public talks for Italiano accompanied by news the club never really wanted him.
Whether that’s just sour grapes or not, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see what the Viola brain trust is trying to do here. From the outside, it certainly looks as if they’re staggering from one rejection to the next like the saddest person at singles’ night 5 minutes before closing time. All we can do is hope that there’s more of a plan than working one’s way down the bar and hoping the next answer is different from the last.