Could Eusebio Di Francesco become the next Reading manager?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 13 October 2019, 15:00

As Reading look to appoint a successor to Jose Manuel Gomes, an unexpected name entered into the discussion.

On Sunday, bookies slashed the odds to 10/1 on former AS Roma and Sampdoria boss Eusebio Di Francesco to take over the hotseat at the Championship Club.

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A look at recent history for the Italian Coach will not inspire a lot of faith from Royals fans, as he was fired from Samp after suffering six defeats in the opening seven Serie A matches this season.

The Blucerchiati have finished 10th or above in four of the last five campaigns in the Italian top flight, but currently sit rock bottom of the table after only having managed to score four goals while conceding 16 during seven outings in 2019/20.

Di Francesco has been replaced by Claudio Ranieri at Samp, just as he was in March 2019 at Roma, the veteran tactician having tidied up his mess in the capital following a dismal run of results.

But is he really all that bad? The answer is that it’s hard to tell at this moment in time. Starting off at Sassuolo in 2012, the Coach made a name for himself as one of Italy’s most talented young bosses, impressing with his solid 4-3-3 system and taking the club to the Europa League for the first time in its history.

That spell ended in 2017, when the excellent reputation of EDF led to his appointment at Roma, where he had featured for the Giallorossi as a player alongside Francesco Totti between 1997 and 2001.

His first season at Stadio Olimpico went better than expected, as his side mounted an incredible “remontada” from 4-1 down in the quarter-final first leg versus Barcelona to win 3-0 at home in the second leg.

A truly unexpected comeback earned them a place in the semi-final, where they bravely battled to an eventual 6-7 defeat on aggregate in the tie. Yet from that triumph came disaster, as the second season at Roma for Di Francesco ended in the abysmal performances that saw him replaced by Ranieri in March.

It’s pretty clear that there are two sides to this Coach, and his poor record in recent times doesn’t necessarily mean that he would be a failure at Reading.

Like most Italian bosses, his in-depth tactical acumen would serve him well in England, and he would have the chance to make a fresh start away from the harsh judgement of his own country.

Although the Championship side have largely deployed a 3-5-2 setup this term, they have used the preferred 4-3-3 of Di Francesco on at least one occasion, which underlines that he should have the players at his disposal to play his preferred formation.

Reading backed Jose Gomes in the summer transfer window, which will give the new man some resources to work with for the time being at least.

On the opposite end of the scale, veteran Cesare Prandelli has also been mentioned as a candidate at 10/1, and if he is appointed at least supporters should know what to expect from a better-known boss than the aforementioned Di Francesco.

He would likely also go for the 4-3-3 setup, but at this late stage in his career it seems the veteran is struggling to find the kind of success that saw him named Italy Coach in 2010.

For Reading, it may be worth a punt on Eusebio Di Francesco, however can a team who have had three different bosses in just over 18 months really afford for this to go wrong?

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