Carlo Ancelotti: Could sacked Napoli manager be set for Premier League return?
Ancelotti won a domestic double with Chelsea in 2010 but subsequent reigns at Bayern Munich and Napoli ended sourly
Last Updated: 12/12/19 8:40am
Carlo Ancelotti was sacked as Napoli late on Tuesday night, but he may not be out of work for too long.
Sky Sports News understands Everton will begin contract talks with Ancelotti in the coming days over their vacant manager's job, although David Moyes could still return to Goodison in an interim role.
Prior to his appointment at Napoli in 2018, Ancelotti had hinted that he would be open to a return to the Premier League, with Arsene Wenger's 21-year reign as Arsenal manager coming to an end.
That link has resurfaced since the departure of Unai Emery, with Sky in Italy reporting that Ancelotti's dismissal is bound to alert the Gunners as they continue their search for a new manager. So could 'Carletto' be set for a return to the Premier League?
What's happened since leaving Chelsea?
It has been over eight years since Ancelotti was abruptly sacked by Chelsea in the tunnel at Goodison following a 1-0 defeat to Everton. The decision felt harsh given he had won the Premier League and FA Cup during his two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Since then, he has won domestic titles in France, Spain and Germany, managing at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, where he lifted the Champions League in 2014.
The Italian enjoyed a one-year sabbatical after leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, before returning to the frontline with Bayern Munich, replacing Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.
Ancelotti's record at and post-Chelsea
The club duly won a fifth successive Bundesliga title, but it was in the Champions League, as in Paris, where he fell short. A victim of his own success, it was in this competition where he would ultimately be judged when arriving as a three-time European Cup winner as a manager.
Bayern were eliminated in the quarter-finals, but it was not just his failure to add to his record haul of Champions League titles that brought his stay in Germany to an end in September 2017.
Following Bayern's 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the group stages, it was widely held that Ancelotti had lost the dressing room - secret training sessions had reportedly taken place behind his back.
At the home of his former club, it was the coup de grace, and with the side languishing in third in the Bundesliga, Bayern president Uli Hoeness pulled the plug.
What went wrong at Napoli?
Ancelotti remains one of the most decorated managers in the European game, and it was seen as a major coup when Napoli replaced Maurizio Sarri. Ancelotti went about evolving Sarriball - a possession-based, short-passing game - but in a way that didn't entirely rip up the work of his predecessor.
A manager who is not fixed in any doctrine, Ancelotti ultimately fell short as a result of his failure to settle tactically on the make-up of his best team, in part due to what has proven to be a disappointing summer of recruitment.
Hirving Lozano, Kostas Manolas, Elif Elmas, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Fernando Llorente all arrived in southern Italy, but Napoli have gone backwards.
The civil war that has been brewing between owner Aurelio De Laurentiis and the first-team squad has formed the backdrop to his latest demise and a dreadful run of nine games without a win certainly didn't allay tensions.
But while his meeting with De Laurentiis at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples was brief after Napoli's 4-0 win over Genk that secured their progress to the Champions League knockout stages, it was a long time coming.
Ancelotti constantly tinkered with his formation in search of improved results, and his relationship with De Laurentiis never really recovered from the latter's refusal to sanction a move for James Rodriguez, a player Ancelotti worked with at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Having already complained about the state of the away dressing-room prior to the Champions League match at home to Liverpool, relations hit rock bottom when the owner ordered the team to take a retiro - withdrawing to a training camp following a 2-1 defeat to Roma in November.
Ahead of the clash with Red Bull Salzburg, an angered Ancelotti said: "I disagree but the club takes the decisions, I train." With the side 17 points off the top of Serie A, a change was inevitable.
Is the right Premier League club available?
Ancelotti has previously hinted that he would like to return to England at some point in his career, if the right project is on offer.
"Napoli approached me and I wanted to go back to Italy, I did not make it an economic matter," he revealed on his return to Italy in August 2018.
"England attracted me, but when I was contacted by Napoli, I told myself that the time had come to return, the last experience abroad had helped me."
Replicating the trophy-laden eight-year stint as AC Milan manager has always been his goal.
After his troubled ending at Napoli, Ancelotti may opt to take some time out of the game to evaluate his next chapter, and never has the Premier League managerial landscape at the top felt more volatile.
Did you know?
Carlo Ancelotti is the only manager to beat Liverpool this season when Napoli defeated Jurgen Klopp's side 2-0 at the Stadio San Paolo in September.
While the infrastructure and the draw of managing again in London would point towards Arsenal, he will be cautious of how difficult Unai Emery found replacing Wenger.
Sky in Italy reporter Valentina Fass said: "Our understanding is that Ancelotti has always appreciated the Premier League and would be looking to go back.
"Arsenal is a team that he always liked, and while we don't have a clear understanding of his next move, he would like to go to a team like Arsenal and his agent will be looking at making at least contact with them.
"From our point of view, it is more Arsenal than Everton that is likely."
Could Everton be his surprise next port of call?
Sky Sports News reporter Ben Ransom said: "It's my understanding that he has expressed an interest in talking to Everton, and I'm told those talks are expected to happen this week.
"Certainly, both sides are looking to see if they can come to any sort of agreement. It makes sense in terms of a return to the Premier League given that he speaks English and had plenty of success with Chelsea.
"However, there is the added complication that Arsenal are also looking for a new manager and he's quite high on their list of targets as well. Coupled with the fact that he still has a residence in London means that seems the more likely destination."
For all of Everton's problems on the pitch this season prior to the sacking of Marco Silva, their ambitious billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri will certainly see Ancelotti as an option.
Completing the curious triangle is the informal talks Everton have held with Emery - perhaps revealing a lack of clear planning - but were Ancelotti to make a sensational move to Merseyside, he would be returning to a club with a "family" culture as experienced at the San Siro.
He would be surrounded by support staff who have been at the club for years, while he would surely relish playing father figure to a young group of players needing direction on the pitch.
Has Ancelotti's stock fallen?
Ancelotti will still consider himself in the top bracket of European managers despite his recent disappointments.
Manchester United were keen to hire him as Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement and then after David Moyes was sacked, and he was even on Liverpool's shortlist before they opted for Jurgen Klopp. West Ham was also a mooted destination towards the end of Slaven Bilic's reign at the London Stadium.
Upon hearing news of his dismissal, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said: "I have huge respect for him, I am very sorry for him. I know it was a tough job for him lately.
"I saw his interview before the game and I thought it was a very typically classy interview in what seemed a very tough time for him.
"He always handles himself brilliantly. I think he can work anywhere in the world at the top level, of course."
Ancelotti will have no shortage of suitors, with two of England's biggest clubs actively seeking a new manager. But as he was pictured driving away in Naples on Wednesday, a break may lie in store.
'Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches', the title of his critically acclaimed book, is all about keeping calm under pressure.
The spotlight will now turn on the hierarchy at Everton and Arsenal to see if they can hold their nerve by making Ancelotti reconsider his own retiro.
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