Antonio Conte: The Savior That Napoli Need?

Just twelve months after winning their first league title in 33 years in spectacular fashion, Napoli found themselves languishing in 10th place at the end of the season. There are many factors to blame for this dramatic decline, but it ultimately comes down to one critical issue: their failure to appropriately replace head coach Luciano Spalletti. In a desperate bid to salvage the season, Napoli cycled through three different coaches, yet none managed to right the ship, resulting in the worst title defence in Serie A history. 


The summer following their title win was chaotic for the Partenopei. They not only lost their manager but also their Sporting Director of eight years to rivals Juventus on short notice. Replacing a manager and reorganizing the top management is challenging under any circumstances, but doing so unexpectedly makes the task nearly impossible. But they weren’t going to make the same mistake of being unprepared again. 



The first order of business for Napoli was hiring a new Sporting Director, which they did successfully with former Juventus director Giovanni Manna. Next up was finding a manager that can galvanise this wounded squad and propel them right back to competing at the top of Italian football. Since the start of 2024, Napoli have been linked with a slew of coaches, but if they were serious about competing for another league title, there was always one standout candidate: Antonio Conte.


Antonio Conte is a self-proclaimed ‘Serial Winner’, and how can you believe any different? He won three league titles in three years at Juventus, a league title in his first year at Chelsea and a league title at Inter upon his return to Italy. While his cup record may not be the best, Antonio Conte is without a doubt one of the best managers in the world, and his league success is comparable with any manager in the history of the game. 


However, changes will likely need to be made at Napoli from a football standpoint. For the better part of a decade, Napoli has played a specific style with a particular formation. Since Rafa Benitez’s tenure in 2013, they have employed an expansive, possession-based system using variations of the 4-3-3 formation.


In contrast, Antonio Conte is synonymous with playing three at the back. This raises important questions: How will Napoli’s crucial players, like Stanislav Lobotka and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, fit into Conte’s system? Will Conte consider experimenting with a back four as he did in his early days at Chelsea?



All of these questions will be answered in time, and Napoli’s approach to the summer transfer window will offer significant clues about their future direction. Securing arguably the best available manager despite finishing 10th and missing out on European football underscores the potential of this squad and how Conte views the players at his disposal.


Antonio Conte is not only one of the most successful managers in Serie A history, with four league titles to his name, but he also boasts the highest points per match of any manager in Italy, with an impressive 2.24. His Juventus side in the 2013/14 season set a record by collecting 102 points, the most ever in a single season, on their way to winning three consecutive titles.


If club president Aurelio De Laurentiis backs Conte in the transfer market, which he undoubtedly will, Napoli could become one of the best teams in Europe and strong favourites to reclaim the Scudetto. This partnership can end in one of two ways: either Conte and Napoli prove to be perfect for each other, leading to a successful era, or the clash of two of the biggest egos in Italy results in a tumultuous relationship. Either way, you can expect fireworks coming out of Naples next season.


By: Mohamed Salad / @MohamedASalad

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / NurPhoto