Italy coach: Spalletti the favourite to take over the Azzurri from Mancini, Conte the outsider

It seems that Luciano Spalletti will be the next coach of the Italy National Team but Antonio Conte is waiting in the wings for a phone call.

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Since the unexpected departure of Roberto Mancini on Sunday, rumours and hypotheticals have flown around as to why the 58-year-old left his post as head coach of the Italy National Team.

Was it displeasure at the current regime? Overwhelmed with his workload? Seduced by the idea of a move to Saudi Arabia? Or was his time with the Azzurri just fulfilled?

To put it short, no one knows, apart from Mancini. What is clear is that someone must replace him before the next set of 2024 European Championship qualifying matches which take place at the start of September.

Whilst there is a month until those matches, things have to be decided quickly so that the next coach can implement their ideas without wasting any matches.

Luciano Spalletti – The favourite as it stands

Luciano Spalletti in a pre-match Champions League press conference. (@sscnapoli)

The former Napoli head coach seemed destined to spend longer away from management, however, the current opening as the Italy coach could bring Spalletti back to the touchline sooner than he or anyone else anticipated.

This is something that the Italian even said himself following his departure from the Partenopei: “Training a national team now would be very stimulating. From a professional point of view, it allows you to take a break from time to time, go out and come back to work. It would certainly be a nice solution.”

As it stands it seems as though the 64-year-old is the preference for the Italian public and also the FIGC president, Gabriele Gravina, and it is clear to see why. After delivering the Scudetto to Naples in the 2022/23 Serie A season, he is an admired figure and would be a perfect fit for the role.

There may be some stumbling blocks in the way though, due to a clause in Spalletti’s Napoli contract that binds him to the Neapolitan club for another year. It was reported by Calciomercato that the figure to release him from the contract is €3m. Given the FIGC has never paid a fee to a club for a manager, this is where political obstacles arise.

Italian journalist Alessandro Alciato (via GIFN) has since reported that Spalletti is on the verge of being announced as the new Italy coach, suggesting that any issues around a payment have been navigated.

Antonio Conte – A return to Azzurri management on the cards?

Antonio Conte. (Photo: Tottenham Hotspur Facebook)

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Inter head coach Antonio Conte also features in the conversation of who to replace Mancini. The situation with Spalletti has advanced quickly and may soon be a done deal, but Conte still waits in the wings for information from the FIGC.

The former Azzurri manager was contacted on Saturday night, alongside Spalletti and was informed that he isn’t the preference but is being considered for the role.

With Conte currently unemployed, and formerly being on the touchline for the Azzurri, the FIGC know what they would be working with.

Things could move very quickly with it being known that the FIGC wants to announce the next head coach on August 16 or the days following.

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