After short glances at Guus Hiddink and Leonardo, Inter seems to have narrowed down Frank De Boer’s successor to two men: Stefano Pioli and Marcelino. No matter which person is selected the process will likely not be finalized in time for the Crotone match, so Vecchi will lead the team again on Sunday.
Stefano Pioli seems to have the backing of the Inter board of directors. They are pushing for an Italian and Pioli’s time at Lazio and numerous other Italian clubs seems to have reassured Ausilio, Zanetti, and Bolingbroke enough to make him their top choice as caretaker manager.
The other option is Villarreal’s former coach, Marcelino. The 51 year old used to be a distant second choice but apparently impressed the Chinese owners during his interview. Suning has previously expressed interest in bringing in a foreign manager rather than an Italian and it looks like he is the one they are settling on at this point.
So a typical club would see the board of directors and owners sit down together, go through the pros and cons of each potential coach, and maybe have one last interview with both candidates together right? Well this is Inter so if reports in the Italian media are to be believed, what is actually happening is nothing close to that calm and rational process. Apparently sources under Ausilio and the other board of directors leaked to the media that Pioli was the one who would get the Inter job, and as a result the owners have cut the entire board out of the meetings with both Pioli and Marcelino. Instead of listening to the board they will reportedly rely on the word of Kia Joorabchian, the agent who brought Joao Mario and Frank De Boer to the club and has quite a bit of influence with Suning. With the directors frozen out for the time being Marcelino has become the more likely candidate to take the Inter hotseat.
If those reports being spread about the schism between the owners and board of directors are true then that is a serious problem. Both factions has made mistakes within the last couple of months but this club needs a unified front in order to make the best decisions. The board of directors needs to realize that their new owners aren’t just going to sit on the other side of the world and let them do what they want, while the owners need to accept the fact that just because they have all this money it doesn’t mean they know everything. They need to accept the advice of those who have spent time in Serie A and know how the league works.
When it comes to the two managerial choices I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other. Neither choice particularly inspires me but then again most caretaker managers aren’t supposed to be inspirational, they are supposed to be calming figures that steady the ship. If I had to choose I would probably pick Pioli since he knows the league quite well and can come in and pretty much get started immediately, while Marcelino (like De Boer) will arrive knowing little to nothing both about Serie A and how to speak Italian. That might be a problem for somebody who is meant to take over for about 2⁄3 of a season...
[Today reports have emerged that Suning is also considering Gianfranco Zola, though it is unsure if they want him as manager or as an assistant manager for Marcelino. I would still take Pioli as manager over Zola. Though Zola does know Italian Pioli has much more Serie A coaching experience over Zola who has only managed Cagliari for half a season. The assistant managerial role under Marcelino would make much more sense, and could be a bit of an olive branch towards the board of directors. This way Suning would have their foreign owners, but he would have an assistant who knows Italian and has a general understanding of Serie A. If that is the case let’s hope the board accepts this compromise and order can (relatively) be restored at Inter]