Winners and Losers of a Very Busy Coaching Carousel

If the merry-go-round, which is somehow still not over just, has seemed crazy, it is because it was, as Serie A had never had so many changes in one summer. Only 7 sides confirmed their previous manager, while a record-breaking 13 went in a different direction. Some choices were home runs on paper, others more questionable.

Title Contenders

Winners: Juventus and Napoli

They both got their top target and exactly what they needed for their current state. If the reports are true, the Bianconeri chose Thiago Motta months ago and held off everybody else, including his own team. Instead, the Partenopei snapped up Antonio Conte in a more roundabout way, reaching out to other bosses perhaps to get him to lower his requests, which weren’t crazy high in the end.

The Old Lady necessitated an up-and-comer with fresh ideas who could get the best out of the squad and groom youngsters after the Massimiliano Allegri reign. Instead, the Azzurri required a surefire manager with a great track record who would revitalize the team and the fan base after a year of utter confusion on the bench.

Losers: Milan

Rather than being ambitious and trying to appoint whom they considered the best man for the job, they seemed intent on onboarding somebody decent enough who was easy to sign and not too expensive or demanding. Paulo Fonseca will likely turn out just fine, but, given his Roma past, there isn’t even the element of novelty, which is generally the bonus in these circumstances. There were more intriguing choices out there even late in the game considering the timing of Sergio Conceiçao and Roberto De Zerbi’s exits.

Second-Tier Teams

Winners: Bologna, Fiorentina, and Atalanta

Perhaps the Felsinei had no shot of keeping Motta, and the error was dated as they couldn’t agree to an extension before he really blossomed. That’s a knock, but they bounced back with a quality coach like Vincenzo Italiano, who’s not as extreme or brilliant but has already accumulated experience at the continental stage and isn’t far off in terms of tactics and philosophy. They achieved that without handing out hefty wages or having to bring in somebody from abroad, which is always a gamble.

After a solid run but the burden of three lost finals, it was time for a change for La Viola. Raffaele Palladino has already proven a lot since he’s been at the helm for less than two full seasons in the pros. He has shown much-welcomed flexibility, which isn’t a given for young bosses, and will continue to grow in the coming years. It’s a good match.

Perhaps it was a leverage play, but Gian Piero Gasperini never seemed so close to leaving La Dea once Napoli targeted him. Juventus would have probably been in the mix if they didn’t land their guy. Instead, he’ll stay put even without a rich extension, at least for now.

Losers: Lazio

Marco Baroni has been excellent in the past two campaigns and especially the past one, avoiding relegation even though Verona gutted their roster in January. However, he’s unproven at this level, and things don’t always translate. Two coaching changes in the span of a few months is never a good look. The Biancocelesti should have done more homework on Igor Tudor before turning to him after Maurizio Sarri resigned. Alternatively, they should have pulled the plug earlier once it became clear that his demands didn’t align with what the management had in mind for the transfer market. Dragging things out cost them some juicier candidates. Like Milan, they went for comfort over other aspects.

Middle of the Table

Winners: Torino

They were in the same boat as Fiorentina. The previous boss did okay but was beginning to be a little long in the tooth. They should have invested significantly to gun for better results. It’s a lot easier to bring in a different voice. Paolo Vanoli had a great run at Venezia and is far from a rookie even though it’ll be his first go in Serie A. He’ll spruce up their playing style while keeping the same grit and intensity that’s in their core at this point.

Losers: Monza

Adriano Galliani amply deserves the benefit of the doubt and surely has an eye for talent. However, the solid season Alessandro Nesta had at Reggiana in 2023/2024 wasn’t enough to completely rehab him and make him a hot prospect following his disappointing stints at Perugia and especially Frosinone.

Relegation Strugglers

Winners: Cagliari and Udinese

The hiring of Davide Nicola isn’t official yet, as the teams are sorting out the compensation, but it appears to be just a matter of time and should go through even if no player joins along with him, Rai reports. His reputation precedes him at this point. Plus, it’s never easy to poach coaches from teams of the same caliber. They needed a certainty and a motivator to succeed a giant like Claudio Ranieri.

The Bianconeri opted for a shot in the dark after cycling through similar managers for years. There are no guarantees Kosta Runjaic will pan out, but he has considerable experience under his belt and they are all saying the right things for now. They are finally showing some creativity and the desire to get out of their lengthy rut.

Losers: Verona and Empoli

Paolo Zanetti has an interesting and courageous style, but it unfortunately hasn’t worked properly at Venezia and barely did at Empoli, which are accustomed to being bolder than the average minnow, up until he lost the plot quickly in his second year. He doesn’t lack motivation, but the quality of their roster is always a doubt. They have already started cashing in on key pieces. Combining that with a question mark in the dugout is a risky proposition.

It’s unclear why the Tuscan Azzurri couldn’t convince Nicola to stay despite an automatic renewal. Roberto D’Aversa was okay at Lecce for about two-thirds of the season. Though, the swoon had already started before his ugly exit. His scheme and strategy were a little more modern than in his previous stops, but, since they are a hotbed for gaffers, they could have taken a swing on a youngster.

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