Another Italian boss for Leicester?

Leicester City have been linked with Maurizio Sarri as a replacement for Enzo Maresca who, confirming that loyalty plays little role in modern football, is heading for Stamford Bridge. Here, we look at why the Foxes might be interested in the Italian and what he can offer.


Could Leicester go for another Italian coach?
Could Leicester go for another Italian coach? / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Now that Enzo Maresca’s long-predicted appointment at Chelsea has been confirmed, Leicester’s search for a new manager begins in earnest. Along with a range of other candidates - most notably Graham Potter who, according to a FoL survey, is the fans’ favourite to be the next custodian of the King Power hot seat – there was a fascinating rumour that LCFC have approached Maurizio Sarri about the post.

 The 65 year old chain-smoking Italian certainly has a high reputation in the game despite never having played professionally. His first big managerial job was at Napoli whom he took to second place in Serie A in 2018, before moving to West London to replace Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. In his one season at Chelsea he won the Europa League (beating Arsenal 4-1), finished third in the Premier League and runners-up in the League Cup. He returned to Italy in 2019 to take over at Juventus where he won the Serie A title. Following their failure to get past the group of 16 stage in the Champions League in 2020 he was sacked by the Italian giants. The following year Sarri took over at Lazio where he remained until his resignation in March this year. 

It is not hard to understand why the Foxes may have approached Sarri given the success of their two former Italian managers Claudio Ranieri and Maresca. In some ways – such as his preference for a solid back four and liking for swift counter-attacking – Sarri resembles the former more than the latter. However, what has become known as ‘Sarri-ball’ – the coach’s meticulous preparation, his preference for a deep-lying play maker, the use of dynamic wingers and a high press – is more in tune with the style adopted by the recently departed disciple of Pep Guardiola. 

 The six-million-dollar question, of course, is whether Sarri would consider relocating to the East Midlands. According to Football Italia, the Italian has already rejected the Foxes, preferring to wait for ‘more intriguing proposals’. A number of other clubs have also expressed an interest in appointing him. Other journalists are not so sure that the door has been finally closed on the move. 

Equally important is whether this would be a sensible appointment for Leicester. Given Sarri’s age, this would surely only be a short-term fix and perhaps the Foxes ought to be thinking more long term. Just today, for instance, it has been reported that Steve Cooper would consider the King Power job. Not only does he have experience managing in the Premier League, but he also took Nottingham Forest up from the Championship. Given that relegation is a possibility for LCFC in the coming season, having a coach with Cooper's skill-set is not to be sneezed at.

Whatever happens, Leicester will need to act quickly to replace not only the manager but most of his key staff who are also moving to Chelsea. Watch this space