What does appointing Antonio Conte mean for Napoli?
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What does appointing Antonio Conte mean for Napoli?

29/05/24 12:30

Napoli look set to appoint Antonio Conte as their new head coach.

After winning the Scudetto in the 2022/23 season, Napoli have had a torrid time defending their title. The Blues have cemented a disappointing 10th place finish in Serie A, as well as struggling in Europe.

During this time, the club has seen something of a managerial merry-go-round with Rudi Garcia, Walter Mazzarri and Francesco Calzona all having a crack at the role, but none succeeding.

So, as it looks more and more likely every day that Napoli will appoint Conte, what does that mean for the club?

Conte is a cultured head coach. He’s been around the block in his time as a manager, notably roles for Juventus, Chelsea, Inter and even a spell in charge of the Italian National team. There's no doubt that he has the pedigree and experience to turn Napoli around.

Antonio Conte

That being said, his time at Tottenham was less promising. He did qualify for the Champions League with the Spurs, but had a huge fall off toward the end of his tenure. He spouted about the club being in disarray in a press conference, and pretty soon after decided to leave North London. In all fairness to Conte, I think it’s clear that Spurs really were in disarray at the time.

Here’s where stuff gets weird. Conte joined Chelsea at the end of the 2015/16 season, after they finished 10th in the premier league. Sounds familiar right? Get this. The year before that, they won the Premier League. So Conte is joining Napoli in the exact same situation that he found himself in when he headed to Stamford Bridge. In his first season at Chelsea, Antonio Conte lifted the Premier League trophy.

His many iterations of a 3-5-2 formation have had varying levels of success, but it's clear that Conte is a very accomplished and tactically impressive manager. Napoli’s squad will be a good fit for Conte’s tactics, and I can imagine Di Lorenzo becoming even more vital as he will likely be pushed into a more attacking role.

The question for me lies in what happens to Khvicha Kvaratshkelia. The left-winger has been linked to PSG ahead of this summer, but it seems likely that he’ll remain in the South of Italy for next season.

So, if the Georgian sticks around, does he operate in midfield, as a striker, or as a wing-back? I think the flair and technical ability of Kvaratshkelia would be properly utilised in a front two, sitting a bit deeper than the Number 9 next to him.

With Osimhen likely to depart this summer, it's being heavily reported that Romelu Lukaku may once again leave Chelsea for Italy this summer, and he may join Conte at Napoli. With Chelsea interested in Osimhen, we could potentially see a Lukaku plus cash sum to bring the Nigerian to Stamford Bridge.

Another player who Napoli are looking to bolster Conte’s squad with is Paulo Dybala. The Argentine has a €20 million release clause to clubs in the Serie A and, according to TMW, Napoli are willing to pay it. The signing would be a real coup to boost a squad already stocked with underrated talent, and Dybala would just add a bit of quality and finesse that any team with ambition would want.

Dybala

The intention shown by Napoli’s board to back and support Conte, before he has even officially signed a deal, is a good sign for supporters of The Blues. Conte has a track record for turning around teams who have once been successful, but fell into a rut. I think signing Conte is the best decision that Napoli could’ve made, and long term success beacons.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Joe Southan

Football Writer

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