It’s been 3 weeks since Antonio Cincotta stepped down as manager of Fiorentina, and the club has yet to appoint a replacement. In the meantime, the Viola have extended the contracts of Daniela Sabatino and Stephanie Breitner, but that comprises the entirety of their business this summer. Meanwhile, Juventus, AC Milan, AS Roma, Inter Milan, Napoli, Lazio, and Sampdoria continue to strengthen their squads. So what the heck is going on?
Stop me if this feels like déjà vu, but the short answer is that the Viola still don’t have a manager. The word on the street is that Patrizia Panico is set to take over, but her contract with the Italy U16s doesn’t end until 31 July 2021, and that leaves Fiorentina in an uncomfortable limbo.
To be fair, Panico is worth waiting for. Now 46, she’s probably Italy’s greatest-ever striker, having scored a goddamn ridiculous 647 domestic goals in 656 appearances over her 23 year career to go with 107 international goals in 196 appearances. She’s won more trophies than she has fingers and toes. If those numbers seem cartoonish, it’s because they are. She’s probably calcio’s best, full stop.
As befits someone of her status, she’s also blazing a trail in the coaching world; I don’t think there are any other women running any men’s teams at the international level, so this is a very special thing that she’s onto and it’s a good thing to let her finish such an important commitment.
That said, it’s not like Fiorentina Femminile boss Elena Turra can do a whole lot until she knows who’ll be coaching the team next year. Coming off a season that featured some incredible triumphs but an overall disappointing finish, it’s easy to see why so many fans are getting very antsy about the lack of reinforcements, especially in comparison with the rest of the league.
And make no mistake, the Viola need a substantial investment to bring the women’s side back to its place as one of Italy’s finest. While there’s plenty of talent currently in the side, last season showed just how slim those margins are, when injuries decimated the side and led to a distant 4th-place finish despite some heroics from Sabatino, Louise Quinn, and a few others.
It makes no sense to attack the club right now, as adding players without a coach in the fold is the sort of shortsightedness that we’ve been decrying around here for years. That said, you can see why the supporters are restless: everyone else is strengthening while Fiorentina stand pat. It’s awfully hard to preach patience at a time like this, but there really aren’t any other options besides waiting on Panico and not, y’know, panicking.