Carlo Ancelotti was sacked as manager of Napoli just hours after their 4-0 Champions League win over Genk on Tuesday night, sparking speculation that the serial trophy winner might be in line for a return to the Premier League.
Prior to his appointment at Napoli in 2018, Ancelotti had hinted that he would be open to a return to the Premier League and it now appears that two of England’s most successful clubs are interested in his services.
Eight years ago the softly spoken Italian was sacked by Chelsea in the tunnel at Goodison Park following a 1-0 defeat to Everton, a decision which many at the time felt was harsh given he had won the Premier League and FA Cup during his two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
But almost a decade on and Ancelotti has been linked with a return to the Blue side of Mereyside, this time as the manager of the Toffees, and can be backed at 2.00* to be the permanent replacement for Marco Silva who left the club at the end of last month.
However, Ancelotti’s dismissal is also bound to alert Arsenal as they continue their search for a new manager following the departure of Unai Emery from the Emirates Stadium in November with the Italian as short as 2.50* to be the next full-time Gunners boss.
Since leaving Chelsea in 2010 the Italian 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.
Following a a one-year sabbatical after leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, he returned to top-flight management with Bayern Munich, replacing Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.
A fifth successive Bundesliga title was not enough though, and following a 3–0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the club’s second group match of their Champions League campaign, his stay in Germany came to an end in September 2017 as reports later surfaced that Ancelotti had lost the dressing room.
Returning to his native Italy, much was expected of a man who had won Serrie A, the Coppa Italia and two Champions League titles with AC Milan at the turn of the millennium.
A number of factors would ensure this was never replicated, however, as Ancelotti constantly tinkered with his formation in search of improved results, while owner Aurelio De Laurentiis’s refusal to sanction a move for James Rodriguez, a player which he had worked with at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, sparked something of a power struggle in the boardroom.
His time in Naples may have been short-lived and his downfall was undoubtedly brought about by a bitter row between himself, De Laurentiis and the first-team squad, not to mention a dreadful run of nine games without a win and with the side 17 points off the top of Serie A, meaning a change was inevitable.
Even so, you don’t become a bad manager over night and Ancelotti remains one of the most decorated managers in the European game, so despite being relieved of his duties at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples immediately after taking Napoli to the last-16 of the Champions League – it’s unlikely he will be out of work for long.
With Vitor Pereira ruling himself out of the running to be the next Everton boss Ancelotti is bound to interest a club who are desperate to step out of the shadows of their cross-city rivals Liverpool, and for all of Everton’s on-field problems this season prior to the sacking of Marco Silva, their ambitious billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri will certainly see Ancelotti as the man to do just that.
Likewise, despite a number of difficult years for Arsenal, which has seen them lose their former boss of some 21-years in Arsene Wenger and then his replacement, Unai Emery, in quick succession, all the ingredients could be there for a successful return to the capital for a man who achieved silverware at Chelsea.
Either way, there’s little doubt that both both sides will be keen to tempt a man, who was once touted as the successor to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and even considered by Liverpool before they plumped for Jurgen Klopp, back to the Premier League given that he speaks fluent English and has enjoyed success pretty much everywhere he has worked
The ball is now firmly in the court of both Arsenal and Chelsea as they know that, even though there is every chance he may be willing to take some time out from the game for the next few months, neither will want to be the ones who miss out on hiring the man who has won everything.
*Odds subject to change