Why Bologna is the perfect move for Vincenzo Italiano

Why Bologna is the perfect move for Vincenzo Italiano
Why Bologna is the perfect move for Vincenzo Italiano

Serie A has witnessed two managerial appointments already today. While Antonio Conte’s arrival has gained a lot of attention, Bologna’s appointment of Vincenzo Italiano has generally gone under-the-radar. Having said that, the ex-Fiorentina boss’ move to the Rossoblu is actual a perfect move for all parties.

While Italiano isn’t quite what Thiago Motta was, he does have a similar identity. His Plan A mirrors that of Motta’s at Bologna, as both managers thrive on having numerical advantages in the middle of the park. This doesn’t just mean that full-backs in their systems invert a lot, but also that centre-backs often step into midfield and full-backs operate at centre-back, just so their teams could overload the heart of the park.

Riccardo Calafiori was hugely impressive in the 2023/24 campaign when it comes to constantly stepping into midfield. For Italiano, a similar job was performed by either of Nikola Milenkovic or Lucas Martinez Quarta, as the full-backs then operated as centre-backs in the first phase of build-up. Their central motives therefore, are similar as there is great reliance on having more numbers in the middle of the park and their goalkeepers start play from the back.

This similarity will make sure that Bologna’s squad wouldn’t have to make too many adjustments to their plan A and the transition will be smooth. This will also make sure Bologna don’t drop off too much from where they finish and they finish inside the European places.

Italiano also has a very good record in knockout competitions, as he reached three finals in three seasons at La Viola. Bologna would definitely love to be closer to silverware, which they didn’t challenge for last season but the next step in their evolution would be winning trophies. Italiano has some assurance of reaching the advanced stages of competitions.

It is the reason for the lack of silverware that lets Italiano down. His in-game management is rightly called into question and it was seen very publicly in the Conference League final against Olympiacos, who defended deep and played longer balls but Italiano could never adapt. The same had happened in the Coppa Italia final last season and against West Ham in the Conference League final of 2022, as Italiano couldn’t adapt a Plan B to counter the opposition.

That is a problem but that is also why Bologna would be a perfect breeding ground for Italiano. If he performs in the same way as he did as the Fiorentina boss, he wouldn’t be judged negatively by the club and the fans as Bologna aren’t quite Milan, Juventus or Inter. Staying around the Champions League spot would make Bologna a sustainable footballing entity and Italiano could, in the meantime, become better and evolve a Plan B too. Or if not that, he could develop his Plan A further, rope in the right players and take Bologna forward that way.

In a way, the appointment can’t quite go wrong. The position that both parties find themselves in, the appointment will only help them.







Kaustubh Pandey I GIFN