Although Gennaro Gattuso lost almost two jobs in less than 24 hours, Kaustubh Pandey reckons Fiorentina and Tottenham have more regrets than the Italian tactician.
Rino Gattuso has witnessed a unique set of events over the last few days. From his Fiorentina project going haywire to the Tottenham move falling through for various reasons. All in less than one day.
The Italian found himself in the middle of two incredible scenarios. He will forever be known as the Fiorentina coach who lasted 23 days at the helm. He will be added to the list of tacticians Spurs could have appointed this summer, joining Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte, Hansi Flick, Erik ten Hag and Paulo Fonseca.
Fiorentina have lacked identity since Rocco Commisso took over. The decision to stick with Vincenzo Montella in his first season at the Artemio Franchi didn’t work out as the Aeroplanino was sacked within a few months. Beppe Iachini had three different stints in charge, with the last one coming after Cesare Prandelli’s exit. This constant chopping and changing of coaches have eroded the team of any identity, despite having a squad that may have the quality to compete for European places.
Fiorentina had a quite good record against the bigger sides in 2020-21 as a reflection of the players’ individual qualities. However, results have been way less encouraging against the so-called smaller clubs and, in general, when La Viola needed to break the opposition defence down. That’s where the team has lacked a regular tactical setup and where they’ve dropped a vast majority of points in the last two campaigns.
For a side with a fair share of players who can play for bigger clubs, a coach like Gattuso could’ve been very effective. At Napoli, he handled the dressing room mutiny following Carlo Ancelotti’s exit. The likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Fabian Ruiz and Giovani di Lorenzo went up a level under him and after a slow start, Hirving Lozano caught fire in the 2020-21 campaign. Victor Osimhen, when fit, became a real force up front and Piotr Zielinski probably had the best season of his career.
Even though the Partenopei finished fifth in the league, they were only two points behind second-placed Milan and improved on the 2019-20 campaign by as many as 15 points.
However, Fiorentina are no strangers to having issues off the field. Gattuso could’ve managed them and get the squad together by ensuring that the best players operated in the most optimized roles on the pitch. Also, his relatively recent experience as one of the most successful players in the history of Italian football, has always proved to be helpful when it came to managing the dressing room, even if that meant, sometimes, using an iron fist.
His transfer requests and those of his agent Jorge Mendes, who was reportedly pushing to receive high commissions on the signing of his clients, led to the break up before the season even begun. Fiorentina have the right to decide against paying high fees to Mendes or any other agent. It’s fair to give them credit for this, but didn’t the Tuscans know the Portuguese agent before they appointed one of his clients?
A bit like La Viola, Tottenham are now without an identity and their mess of a managerial hunt shows that. They initially wanted Mauricio Pochettino back in an attempt to bring back their DNA. But soon, they moved towards more of a pragmatist in Antonio Conte who had worked at Juventus with new Spurs’ managing director Fabio Paratici.
Once Conte turned down their offer, the North London club moved to Paulo Fonseca, another coach in the Pochettino mould but less experienced than the Argentinean at the highest level. Tottenham found themselves eventually looking at Gattuso, a mixture of all the coaches mentioned above.
It says a lot about Spurs identity and organization, even though they’re one of the ten richest clubs in the world. Paratici’s most significant task will be to give organization to a club with more resources than know-how. The start hasn’t been encouraging.
For the 2006 Italy World Cup winner, to take over that job may have been a disaster waiting to happen. The instances at Milan and Fiorentina show that Ringhio takes no prisoners regarding his management style. He is open about making his unhappiness clear regarding the board’s decisions and wants them to be fully committed to his project.
While some of his comments from the past are believed to be behind his collapsed move to Spurs, the experiment in North London may not have lasted long anyway. However, Spurs could have benefited from the services of the 43-year-old on the pitch. If anything, Gattuso could have brought the best out of Spurs’ players, overseeing a badly needed transition at Tottenham.
He oversaw a transition at Napoli too, improving them as a unit, so if anyone’s losing anything, it’s Tottenham who still found themselves without a coach and who, probably, gave more importance to off the pitch matters rather than focusing on how Gattuso could have developed the team.
The former midfielder is a good coach. Not the best in the world, but a very reliable indeed and it’s hard to find players who don’t develop under him. The feeling is that he would have had something to give to both Fiorentina and Tottenham who based their decision against appointing him on off-the-pitch matters.
Gattuso may not have issues finding a new club soon while both La Viola and Spurs are on the lookout for a new coach, with just a few weeks remaining before the beginning of the new season. The Italian tactician may be jobless now, but it’s hard to think Fiorentina and Tottenham emerge as winners.