Atalanta Coach Planning Shocking Move?

Gian Piero Gasperini reportedly intends to step down following tonight’s match against Ajax, no matter the result, because of a rift with Alejandro Gomez that has caused a divide inside the locker room. The rumours had started to percolate last night from local TV station Telelombardia and has been picked up by national sites like SportMediaset and this morning. Atalanta go into Wednesday’s match with a one-point lead over the opponent and would qualify to the next stage with a draw.

The incident between the manager and his star players dates back to the tilt against Midtjylland, when Gasperini asked Gomez to play in a different position, the latter loudly refused and two had a heated argument, which led to the Argentinian international being replaced by Josip Ilicic at half time. Gomez and Ilicic, who reportedly sided with the teammate despite subbing in, were excluded from the squad list for Sunday’s match against Udinese, officially for rest purposes ahead of the pivotal Champions League clash.

In the pre-game presser, Gasperini sidestepped the question, talking about the weather when asked about the climate inside the team. Today’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport confirms the tensions between the parties but suggested a different outcome that would see Gomez leave in January, finally accepting one of the lucrative offers he has received from exotic leagues over the years.  In this scenario, the management would side with the coach, who has inked an extension through 2023 in September. The potentially explosive situation should be monitored closely even if it does not deflagrate on Wednesday.