Jens Meyer/Associated Press
Roberto Mancini has reportedly agreed a two-year contract to become the new manager of Italy.
Sky Sports News said on Monday that the former Zenit St Petersburg and Manchester City boss will become the new Azzurri chief:
Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews
BREAKING: Roberto Mancini agrees two-year deal to take over as Italy head coach and will sign tomorrow. #SSN https://t.co/B1D44BP5jn
Italy have been without a manager since the departure of Gian Piero Ventura in November. He was in charge as the team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer; it’s the first time the country won’t be at the tournament since 1958.
The failure to make it to the showpiece sparked an angry reaction from those associated with Italian football. With the national team reaching a nadir, there’s no doubt Mancini has a big job to do.
It was confirmed on Sunday by Zenit that the 53-year-old had agreed to terminate his contract with the club, adding further fuel to the speculation he was set to become the next Italy manager.
As noted by Football Italia, he’ll be taking a pay cut for his new job:
Reports Roberto Mancini has given up on €13m in wages to take the #Italy job #Zenit #VivoAzzurro https://t.co/xXcHzy4RTn
The appointment is likely to divide opinion, as Mancini’s managerial career has been full of highs and lows.
In Italy, he won the Coppa Italia with both Fiorentina and Lazio before he steered Inter Milan to three Serie A titles. He then moved to City, winning the FA Cup and the Premier League in a four-year stint at the Etihad Stadium.
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
After a year with Galatasaray, he returned to Inter and struggled in his second stint, eventually leaving in 2016 and joining Zenit a year later.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri believes Mancini can be the man to turn Italy around, per Goal UK:
Goal UK @GoalUK
Roberto Mancini has been backed to kickstart the Italy revolution, but he can’t do it all himself https://t.co/ja9IbOTPxY
There will be some big decisions for Mancini to make should he take the job on. The squad has been dependant on some exceptional veterans in recent years, and with Gianluigi Buffon now retired from the national team, there will be a leadership void to fill.
Still, despite the bleak mood surrounding the Italy team, there are still some reasons to be positive when looking at what’s to come. In Leonardo Bonucci, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile, there are some exceptional players to call upon.
There are some stars coming through, too. In Gianluigi Donnamrumma, Italy have arguably the best young goalkeeper in the world, while players like Daniele Rugani, Alessio Romagnoli, Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi have tremendous potential.