Fiorentina are drifting under Vincenzo Italiano with a trophy needed to cap his tenure in Tuscany

Vincenzo Italiano is expected to leave Fiorentina at the end of the season and with their Serie A campaign taking a negative turn, a trophy would hugely change the perception of his three years at the Artemio Franchi.

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Fiorentina‘s 2023/24 Serie A season is starting to get away from them after a very underwhelming start to the calendar year, and there is a chance it could stain Vincenzo Italiano‘s time at the club.

Italiano‘s spell at Fiorentina has undoubtedly been a success in regard to consistent league position and relative success in cup competitions, but the 23/24 season could end up being viewed as one too many for both the club and the coach.

La Viola fell down to 10th in Serie A after their 1-0 defeat to Juventus on Matchday 31, another game in which they moved the ball well, but failed to score goals. It is becoming all-too-common a tale for a club that has had a tough start to 2024 away from the pitch as well.

Fiorentina midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura controls the ball (@acffiorentina)

Fiorentina’s underwhelming 2024

Off the bat, the sudden death of director Joe Barone in March means that the 23/24 season will always be viewed with sadness from a Fiorentina perspective. Focusing on the action on the pitch, though, it could be viewed as a season of two halves.

Having finished seventh and eighth in the previous two campaigns, it is a disappointment that Fiorentina now find themselves at serious risk of a bottom-half finish. In December 2023, they won four Serie A games and drew away at AS Roma, whilst also progressing in the Coppa Italia and the Europa Conference League.

In 2024, they have continued their European and Coppa Italia progress but have won just two out of 12 league matches. The league form has dropped off a cliff, with defeats against Sassuolo and Lecce standing out along with draws against Udinese and Empoli.

The introduction of Andrea Belotti has not had the desired effect, whilst forwards such as Christian Kouame, Lucas Beltran, M’Bala Nzola and Nico Gonzalez have underwhelmed compared to the form they have shown in the past.

It has the feel of a project that has gone stale, and everyone involved knows it.

Fiorentina’s Arthur melo and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen. [@acffiorentina]

A trophy changes the assessment of Italiano at Fiorentina

The reason the project may feel stale is that it is pretty clear Vincenzo Italiano will be leaving at the end of the season. As soon as he started getting results in 2021/22 after leaving Spezia, he was linked with jobs higher up the table, and the papers think he will be the Napoli coach next season.

Fiorentina director Daniele Prade spoke to DAZN before the Matchday 31 loss at Juventus and his words certainly suggested that Italiano won’t be there next season.

“With every week that passes, we fall further behind the teams ahead of us, but the season is not over and this is a very important match for us,” Prade said. “It’s not a problem right now. After everything that happened, Vincenzo and the President met, we must focus on the present and achieve something to honour Joe’s memory. We all love Italiano, he is a leader, we know he will carry on what we are doing.”

If Fiorentina‘s season does fizzle out into mid-table obscurity and they are left without the European football that fans have quickly become accustomed to, it would be fair to wonder if Italiano left one season too late.

It would be hard to argue that point, though, if they ended 23/24 with a trophy. Having suffered heartbreak in both the Coppa Italia final and the Europa Conference League final last season, Fiorentina are in the frame to compete in both matches again. They are 1-0 up in their Coppa Italia semi-final against Atalanta where they’d likely face Juventus in the final, and they are in the quarter-finals of the Conference League. Aston Villa are the favourites there.

Winning either tournament gets Fiorentina into the Europa League next season, something they likely won’t be doing via Serie A. More importantly, they could win their first trophy since the 2000/01 Coppa Italia.

Winning either would be fitting considering the way last season ended, the passing of Joe Barone, and the gloss it would put on what has, overall, been a very successful managerial appointment for Fiorentina considering the mediocrity of the recent past.

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