Italian football teams have a habit of turning success into failure very quickly. Over the last few years, several Italian champions have seen coaches, star players, and the entire project crumble before the end of their Scudetto-winning season. The latest club to join this list would be Napoli.
Though the Neapolitans have finally ended their three-decade plus title drought, things are set to change in a major way. Napoli are keen to make some big changes to their team, and this is set to manifest itself in various ways. For one, it is expected that star players like Kim Min-Jae and Victor Osimhen will depart for premium prices. Crucially, though, it looks like Luciano Spalletti will leave the club under a cloud.
The former Roma manager has created a title-winning side in Naples in just two years. However, things were not always comfortable. Indeed, in the previous season, the Tuscan-born coach had his car stolen and was only promised to have it returned should he resign from the club. Having masterminded a title win, it appears that Spalletti has not forgotten about his poor treatment in the city.
Another key aspect of his exit comes down to what is perceived as a lack of respect. Spalletti believes that he has not been given enough respect from the ownership of the club. His contract, he also believes, reflects a lack of love for the work that he has done.
Despite winning the title, his salary pales in comparison to both previous Napoli coaches and less successful rivals within the league. With a new contract not forthcoming, though, Napoli’s owner extended his contract by a year without even addressing the coach. This has led to a bitter standoff that looks certain to end in an exit.
Luis Enrique and Antonio Conte targeted for Naples resurgence
Interestingly, it looks like Napoli will be targeting two proven winners to replace Spalletti. The most seriously linked name is Luis Enrique, with local reports suggesting that a contract has already been drawn up for the Spaniard. Though he was once a flop at AS Roma, the former Barcelona manager has proven his club and international qualities in the jobs that he has held since.
As such, expect Enrique to be given a chance to make his mark in Naples. Should he fail to agree terms, or receive a more lucrative offer from England, then it is believed that Antonio Conte is next in line. Though known for being a demanding taskmaster who can start a war by himself, the Italian is regarded as one of the best tacticians in the game today.
He would be able to near-guarantee a continuation of the domestic consistency that has been such a hallmark of how Napoli works. However, with so many key players set to leave, he would no doubt demand a war chest to build a new side in his own image.
For Napoli, change is almost certain – how the changes work, though, will be determined by who stays and who goes in this transitional period.
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