After the early farewell with Tottenham, a sabbatical year is possible, but in Italy the scenarios in the home of the big names could open up surprising possibilities
Antonio Conte, since yesterday in the list of coaches without a contract, risks being an uncomfortable ghost with which, in this season finale, several colleagues will have to live. Above all in Serie A. The termination of the contract with Tottenham, which would have expired on June 30 and which would not have been renewed at the behest of the Lecce coach, has fueled the rumors that they want him on the bench of one of the formations in 2023-24 of our league. There are two clubs that can afford Conte, perhaps three, but to see him again in Serie A, several pieces of a complicated puzzle must be fitted. Furthermore, the possibility cannot be excluded that, as happened after his farewell to Chelsea, Antonio will take a sabbatical year. To be with his family and forget the terrible months in which he suffered for the disappearance of his friends Ventrone, Mihajlovic and Vialli.
I recall Juve
Since Andrea Agnelli resigned as president of Juventus, the chances of seeing Conte again at the helm of the Bianconeri have increased. Peace had already been consumed between the former Continassa number one and the Apulian coach after the turbulent breakup in July 2014 and the mutual offenses in one Juventus-Inter of the Italian Cup in February 2021, but to think of seeing them work together again every day… How long could they last? With the new management at the helm of the Lady, the road for Antonio is certainly more downhill if John Elkann and the president Ferrero decide to terminate the contract with Massimiliano Allegri. This latter hypothesis now seems much less probable than a few weeks ago: because Max has revived the team, managed the complicated period of the many injuries and the psychologically tough one of the penalty, scored 56 points on the field and is in the running for qualifying for the next Champions League and for winning both the Europa League and the Italian Cup. In short, his bench is now quite solid compared to the past. More than the contract, which expires in 2025 (he has a salary of 7 million plus bonuses per season), his “shield” is the esteem that the owners and the current management have towards him: Max is considered a point of reference for his experience and his skill in managing the moments of storm that maybe there will also be in the future given that the battle with ordinary justice, sports and UEFA has just begun. It is clear that a collapse in the last two months of this 2022-23 could change the scenario and open the doors of Continassa to the return of the prodigal son Conte, but at this moment, thanks to the results he is obtaining, Max… keeps it at a safe distance.
Simone Inzaghi’s bench is less solid than Allegri’s. Without an exploit in the Champions League, where the Nerazzurri will face Benfica in the quarter-finals, the fate of the Piacenza coach seems sealed: even entering the top four in Serie A, and qualifying for the next Champions League, will not be enough to avoid the ‘waiver. Thanks to the 9 defeats in 27 championship days, everything leads us to think that in June the paths of Inter and the Piacenza coach will part ways a year before the expiry of the contract (June 2024). But pay attention to Simone’s skill in Europe (group stage passed three times out of three in his career) and “short” competitions (in the Italian Cup he has the semifinal with Juventus): with a great season finale Inzaghi can write a different epilogue to the history and drive away the ghosts of his successors. Above all that of De Zerbi, the favorite of Marotta, Ausilio and Baccin, that of Thiago Motta, the ex admired for the growth he has had in recent years, but also those of Simeone and Conte. Premise, Antonio broke up badly with the Nerazzurri world: he no longer believed in Suning’s project, he refused to remain an accomplice to the economic downsizing, he pocketed the severance pay of 14.3 million gross (himself and his staff) and said goodbye. He will remain in the history books as the one who brought back to Pinetina a championship that had been missing for 11 years, but the relationship with the management had been crumbled in 2019-20 by his vitriolic utterances. The summit at Villa Bellini, after the defeat in the Europa League final, served to sign the armistice, not peace, and the 2020-21 season passed without a tsunami only because everyone understood that it could be the right one to sew on new tricolor on the shirt. Leaving aside Marotta, Ausilio and Baccin for a moment, is it really possible that Zhang will rehire Conte after the distrust he received in spring 2021? But above all, would Conte agree to work in an Inter that still has great ambitions, but no longer the ability to invest in the summer of 2019, when Lukaku, Barella, Sensi, Lazaro and (in January 2020) Eriksen were bought?
Rome and the others
Another club that could inquire about Conte’s salary and technical requests is Roma. The Friedkins hope Mourinho will stay next season; ditto the Giallorossi fans. The Special One, however, will only make a decision when the ball has stopped rolling and has spoken to the management. It’s true that Roma esteem De Zerbi and his beautiful football a lot, but in terms of appeal and skill in winning the championships (let’s stress it again, the championships: there is no comparison in European cups) Conte is perhaps the only one who could take up the legacy of the man of Setubal. After convincing Mou, the Friedkins have already shown that they can turn the impossible into… possible. Will they give an encore? The other side of Milan, the AC Milan side, will not confirm Pioli only if he leaves the top four in Serie A and is eliminated by Napoli in the quarterfinals. Can the Devil think of Conte? Never say never, but it doesn’t seem like the right profile for Red Bird’s idea of football. And abroad? Bayern have already changed coaches, Real Madrid, if Ancelotti will lead the Selecao, seems to have other ideas; ditto the PSG which thinks above all of Zidane. However, the situation remains fluid in many of the large squares and Conte is destined to turn into a ghost who will disturb the sleep of several colleagues.
March 27, 2023 (change March 27, 2023 | 08:34)
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