As soon as it was announced that Luciano Spalletti would be stepping down as the head coach of Napoli weeks after leading them to their first league title in 33 years, Napoli fans were curious about who would be chosen to lead their team next. Weeks of speculation and even President Aurelio De Laurentiis claiming there were around 50 names on his list of candidates, led to former Lille and Roma boss Rudi Garcia being named the next Napoli head coach.
The instant reaction from Napoli fans all over the internet was “Oh no what have we done?”, but once the dust had finally settled and everyone calmed down, you begin to realise that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Garcia has coached in Italy before and had a good level of success. In his two full seasons with Roma, only Juventus had won more games and kept more clean sheets than Roma. A Roma team who were far less talented than this current Napoli side.
Garcia comes into a Napoli team who will be going into a season as champions of Italy for the first time in 33 years. In some ways, he comes into one of the easiest jobs in all of Europe. Not much of a rebuild is needed, he won’t need to implement an entirely new system and the rest of the league seem to be struggling to either keep their talent or happen to be in some sort of financial difficulty. With a few key additions, there is no reason for Napoli not to repeat and win another title as well as make a deep run in the Champions League.
During his time coaching in Lille, Lyon, and Roma where he enjoyed most of his success, he played predominantly with a 4-3-3 formation, one of the key things President De Laurentiis was looking for in the next coach. Although Garcia has used three at the back at times, he fits seamlessly into what Napoli has done over the last decade. Now that Napoli have won the league, the next goal is to announce themselves on the continental stage and try and compete with Europe’s elite for the biggest prize of them all.
Napoli are champions of Italy for the third time in club history and the first time in 33 years, clinching the Scudetto with five matches to spare after drawing 1-1 at Udinese.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the heroes behind Napoli’s historic title. pic.twitter.com/FHrECogI5x
— Breaking The Lines (@BTLvid) May 4, 2023
Rudi Garcia certainly has experience in that competition, in his most recent run with Lyon, they got to the semi-final, beating a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Juventus and Manchester City on the way there. A very impressive run considering they were the underdogs in every game they played. That won’t be the case with Napoli. As long they hold onto their superstar attacking players — Khvicha Kvaratshkhelia and Victor Osimhen — and a solid midfield featuring Stanislav Lobotka, Piotr Zielinski and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, they can go toe to toe with almost anyone in the world.
Napoli are likely to lose South Korean defender Kim Min-Jae, who has emerged as a revelation since his arrival from Fenerbahce last summer, but as they have shown in the past, they are more than capable of replacing almost anyone. They will look to add a few pieces for depth and improve on the one position of weakness which is the right wing. If they can get a player to add production on that side to add to what Khvicha and Osimhen already do, Napoli could look even better next season.
Understandably so, many fans didn’t know what to expect and may even be a little disappointed one of the more well-known managers wasn’t appointed. However, one thing is for certain, Napoli will continue to dominate the possession of the ball, play on the front foot and exploit spaces. If Napoli are able to manoeuvre this transfer window keeping most of their best players and adding quality, they will certainly be in the mix next year in both the league and the Champions League.
By: Mohamed Salad / @MohamedASalad
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mondadori Portfolio