Who is… Swansea’s new head coach Francesco Guidolin?
Even captain Ashley Williams admitted he had to Google Francesco Guidolin to find out more about Swansea’s new manager, but do your research and you can see why Huw Jenkins believes the Italian can keep the club in the Premier League.
Having parted ways with club legend Garry Monk in the autumn, Alan Curtis steadied the ship in an interim capacity, but after an extensive search the Welsh club announced Guidolin as head coach earlier this month.
Many Swansea fans could be forgiven for wondering who exactly this man is, and it turns out that even the first-team weren’t too clued up on their new gaffer.
So here’s what you need to know.
The 60-year-old has been in management for just under 30 years, but it was at Vicenza in a four-year-spell in the mid-90s that he really began to make his name.
Guidolin took the relatively small Italian side from Serie B into the big time, even leading the 1996-97 Serie A table for a spell. A Coppa Italia win in 1997 handed Vicenza their first major silverware and a led to subsequent run to the semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup.
A short stint at Udinese was followed by a steady string of mid-table Serie A finishes with Bologna, before a return to Palermo saw Guidolin back at his best.
Leading the Eagles to their first Serie B title and a place in top-tier football after a 35 year absence, Guidolin then led the team to sixth upon their return and a first taste of UEFA Cup football.
A season at Monaco failed to work out and Guidolin was back with the Sicilian side in 2006.
A fiery relationship with Palermo’s owners eventually saw them finish a best-ever fifth in Serie A while being hired and fired three times.
In 2008 he joined Parma and the Treviso-born manager did his old trick of getting a side out of the second tier. Guidolin then led Parma to a mid-table finish the following year before parting ways for a return to Udinese.
His first three seasons back at Stadio Friuli saw the Little Zebras finish fourth, third and fifth, bringing Champions League football to Udine for the first time.
Guidolin’s second spell with the club saw him work with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Gokhan Inler, and he knows a quality player when he sees one.
It may also be worth noting that having taken four separate Italian sides into the top half of the top division, none of those teams are there now.
His record shows he averages 1.44 points per game as coach, and were that over 38 games, a Guidolin-led side would finish on over 54 points.
Guidolin isn’t a man to use a 4-4-2 formation, so expect the Swans to attempt a return to the flowing football seen in their early Premier League campaigns.
Swansea have brought in a man who clearly has an impact upon arrival at a new club, but who can evidently back it up with results too.
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