Who will take over Italy? Breaking down the odds
After Gian Piero Ventura was sacked earlier today, Italy must now look forward to his replacement. While the talent level might not be the same as in its glorious history, the azzurri still have a nice crop of young talented players and will be looking to appoint the right manager to get the best out of them. In order to discuss who is in contention for the job, we went to Skybet to idenitfy the five managers with the best odds, and one long shot that could be a possibility. Let's take a look:
Carlo Ancelotti, 6/4
Ancelotti is the odds on favorite at this moment and would be a dream for Italian fans, as he is well respected around the world and has won everything there is to win as a club manager. Carlo has won two Champions League trophies in Milan, and of course led Real Madrid to its highly coveted decima, so his record in top tournaments speaks for itself. While he is famous for his 4-3-2-1 "Christmas tree" formation, Carlo has the ability to adapt his tactics to the talent provided to him. Except for in his last stint with Bayern Munich, Ancelotti was always widely considered great at managing personalities, which is important for a national team because most players are coming from being the stars on their team and some may have to accept bench roles.
Why it could happen: Ancelotti has always stated that it would be a dream to manage Italy, so he is definitely interested in the project. He is also free at this moment and could take over right away.
Obstacles: His salary would be the first one, as the FIGC surely can't pay him as much as the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. Secondly, he will most likely want to manage Italy through a World Cup, and that has now become almost a five year commitment. It is unclear whether or not Ancelotti would want to give up club management for such a long period.
Antonio Conte, 4/1
Conte would be welcomed back with open arms as he had a very successful stint leading the nazionale through Euro 2016. At the Euros, he did very well with a squad that many believe was less talented than Ventura's, winning against Belgium and Spain and taking World Cup champions Germany to penalties. He is a great motivator and knows how to get the best out of his players, which is exactly what Italy need at this moment.
Why it could happen: Conte agreed to join Chelsea before the Euros began, but when the tournament finished it seemed like he was upset with his decision and felt bad leaving the post. It is also reported that he is unhappy in England and the Chelsea board is unhappy with him, so we could see this move happening in June. It's possible for a caretaker to take over for now and have Conte return then.
Obstacles: Conte just left the azzurri and had a successful run with them. Would he really want to return so soon? Also, he is still young and may want to continue managing a club on a day to day basis. Reports have stated that if he were to leave Chelsea, Milan could be an option for him in Italy while reports in France are also mentioning PSG as a destination, so could he really turn down a Champions League contender at this stage of his career to return to Italy?
Roberto Mancini, 6/1
Mancini has been a very successful domestic manager, winning titles in Serie A with Inter and the Premier League with Manchester City. While he may not be as flashy of a name as Conte or Ancelotti, he has had a successful career and surely would be a step up from Ventura. Mancini also uses a formation with four at the back, and with the retirement of Barzagli and possibly Chiellini, it seems Italy will move to a back four going forward. It would also be interesting to see if Mario Balotelli would earn a recall under Mancini, as he managed him both at Inter and Manchester City.
Why it could happen: Right before the play-off against Sweden, Mancini mentioned that it would be a dream to manage Italy and he would be ready if the call came, therefore he is clearly interested in the job. While he is a good manager, he is not considered in the same class as Conte or Ancelotti at this moment, so his lack of flashy options at the club level might make him consider the azzurri.
Obstacles: Mancini surely has a nice salary in Russia, and it would be difficult for him to turn down the final two years of his contract and take a pay cut for Italy. He would also most likely want to at least finish out the season at Zenit, so he wouldn't be available to take over until June like Conte.
Massimiliano Allegri 8/1
It would be interesting to see if Allegri would be a popular choice for the position. There is no doubting his ability, especially in major competitions. Max has led Juventus to two Champions League finals in three years, and always took his teams out of the group stage of the competition. This is an accomplishment considering he did not have very talented teams during the latter years in Milan and was able to get them to the knockout stages regardless. His strength is identifying the other team's weaknesses and taking advantage of them, which would be brilliant in an international setting.
Why it could happen: Allegri has had a successful cycle at Juventus, and could be looking for a change in the summer as it was reported that he almost left the club after the loss to Real Madrid in June. If he wants to leave Juve and no other positions open up in the Premier League or elsewhere, he might be willing to take over the azzurri.
Obstacles: Allegri just recently stated that he would be interested in taking over Italy a bit further down the line. He is still on the younger side and probably wants to accomplish more at the club level before he took over the national team. Additionally, as stated regarding Ancelotti, this became a long, five year commitment for anyone that wants to manage Italy in a World Cup, and Allegri surely would want to do that.
Maurizio Sarri, 10/1
Sarri is a very popular name in European football at the moment due to his playing style at Napoli. If Sarri was appointed, all of the talk about Italy being boring and defensive would be thrown out the window. Two of Italy's most talented players are Jorginho and Insigne, so Sarri would be able to build a 4-3-3 around them and potentially play his style of football. One of the criticisms of Sarri has been has inability to cycle his squad, and on the Italy bench he wouldn't have this problem.
Why it could happen: If Sarri were to win the scudetto with Napoli, he could be looking for a change as he may want to leave Naples on top. Italy also has the technical ability to play his style of football, and two of his own players on Napoli would lead the charge.
Obstacles: It would be very difficult for him to implement his 4-3-3 in such a short period of training with the national squad. In fact, Sarri himself has been very critical of the amount of time international squads already receive, so it's unlikely he would want to be part of the setup. Lastly, Sarri has an 8 million euro buyout clause that needs to be activated for him to leave, and if anyone knows De Laurentiis, he will not let Sarri leave without the buyout being activated. It doesn't seem the FIGC would want to spend to activate the clause.
Long shot option - Roberto Donadoni, 50/1
Why it could happen: Donadoni has been a solid manager in Serie A for years, but has never been given the opportunity to manage a top side. Despite that, he managed Italy into Euro 2008, where they lost to eventual winners Spain on penalties in the quarter finals. It was a tough challenge for Donadoni as the players from 2006 were declining, but expectations were still very high. In hindsight, he did a good job with Italy and already knows the international setup. If all of the top candidates decline, they may give Donadoni a call.
Obstacles: It is unlikely that the FIGC would want to go back to Donadoni and he himself might not want to return, as he was replaced with Lippi who took the team to the 2010 World Cup. He is also not a flashy name right now, and the FIGC will surely want to bring in someone bigger in order to get the bad memories of Ventura out of everyone's mind.