Where have all the Italian managers gone?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 29 July 2019, 09:24

As the Premier League season kicks off on August 9th, the makeup of its managers will feel somewhat unusual.

Since 2007/08, there has been only one other campaign (2014/15) in which there has been no Italian Coach in charge of a club in the English top-flight.

This season, there will be eight bosses from England, three from Spain, two from Portugal, two from Germany, and one each from Northern Ireland, Argentina, Austria, Norway and Chile.

Italians have been a large part of the top division in England, writing themselves into the history books on foreign shores. Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte have all lifted the Premier League trophy, however there have been many memorable moments from others born on the peninsula.

Roberto Di Matteo has been a Chelsea hero both as a player and Coach, winning the FA Cup and Champions League with the Blues during the 2011/12 campaign.

Last term, Maurizio Sarri may not have been the most popular boss to arrive at Stamford Bridge, but earned the club more silverware with a win in the Europa League final versus London rivals Arsenal.

It’s impossible not to like Gianluca Vialli, the charismatic and personable former Chelsea man having lifted FA Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup trophies between 1998 and 2000.

“Here I can walk down the street with my girlfriend, I can go shopping, sit in a pub or go out to dinner and nobody asks me for an autograph,” Vialli revealed to the Observer back in 2002.

“That's a dream. After 15 years of worrying, I'm finally a free man.”

He paved the way for the likes of Paolo Di Canio, Francesco Guidolin, Walter Mazzarri and former teammate Gianfranco Zola to take charge of English sides, to varying levels of success.

Ranieri pulled off what previously seemed impossible as the ultimate Premier League fairytale saw Leicester win the Premier League in 2015/16. Indeed, the boss who made the “dilly ding, dilly dong” phrase instantly popular was voted the most popular Italian manager by a BBC poll conducted in September 2018.

More recently, Sarri and Antonio Conte have won trophies with Chelsea, but this season they will fight it out for the Serie A title as they have been appointed with Juventus and Inter respectively.

There may be no representatives from Italy in the Premier League this season, but there is one managerial candidate who is ready and waiting to take a high-profile job as soon as one comes available. After winning five consecutive league titles as well as four Coppa Italia trophies with Juventus, Max Allegri is still without a club.

“I am going to take a year off to recharge the batteries and take my personal life back in hand, the Coach told reporters in mid-June.

“To rediscover the affection of my family, children and friends after many years. The last 16 years have felt like being in a blender. You have to take time away from what you’d usually spend with family and friends. I’ll use this year to recharge my batteries ahead of the next season.”

However, after having made no secret of his desire to take charge of a team in England, his sabbatical may be cut short if a top job came up. For him, an offer such as this may be too difficult to turn down, and therefore the Premier League may not be lacking an Italian boss for very long.

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Mark Bowen
Mark Bowen
29th August
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