The rumors from Riyadh are becoming more and more insistent: the agreement with the Asian national team is imminent. In the next few days there will be an organizational meeting with his employees
Robert (increasingly) of Arabia. There is a persistent rumor from Riyadh that Mancini is almost done. It could be a matter of days before the new coach and his staff are announced. There is talk of a whopping contract worth 25 to 30 million per year until the North American World Cup in 2026, but that is not the first goal: the Asian Cup in Qatar is coming up in January, which the Saudis win three times , but the last one is from 1996, the prehistory.
Old new staff
The old blue staff will work with Mancini, including tactician Andrea Gagliardi, who has told the FIGC his foreseeable intention not to stay: he will apparently work with Mancini along with Lele Oriali, the former team manager. Between Riyadh and Rome, the tesserae of Saudi Arabia and Italy are defined. Not everything is still in place: Luciano Spalletti will present himself as usual with his historical staff and therefore there will be no place for Alberto Bollini in the new staff. Placing the coach of the European U19 champions will not be easy: we will see what the FIGC can offer him.
There are very different versions of the Mancini-Saudi Arabia story. According to Riyadh’s media, the former blue coach has been in talks since June and has already signed for some time. Contributors not yet. The interested party disputes this reconstruction. In the coming days, Mancini was due to hold an organizational meeting with his staff to take stock of the situation, followed by a meeting with Saudi leaders, perhaps in Italy. It is not the Saudi Federation that negotiates directly: in these cases, the proxies of the royal family come into play. Wages multiplied for everyone, not just Mancio. Staffers are likely to include Salsano, Lombardo, Nuciari, Battara, Gagliardi, Scanavino and perhaps Oriali, who will not continue the relationship with the FIGC. With Buffon sufficient for Spalletti, Mancini, with whom he has been closely associated over the years, will follow. In theory, Mancini should agree to an amicable termination of contract with the FIGC, but it is clear that whatever the consequences in court, he would still be training in Arabia, as elsewhere.
life in Arabia
Mancio staff will soon address non-secondary issues. In addition to drafting the contracts, which will probably be done by the lawyer Fortini, Mancini’s wife, who acted as an intermediary at Gravina, it is about everyday life in Saudi Arabia: you have to be there at least 183 days a year not to do that do to pay taxes in Italy. For those accustomed to the western world, life in Riyadh or Jeddah may not be easy, in addition to the unbearable heat for several months of the year. Mancini and his people should live in a center equipped with every comfort. Exercise only in the evenings to avoid the sun and very hot temperatures.
It would be important for Arabia to start with Mancini as soon as possible. The national team will play a double friendly on neutral ground, on September 8 in Newcastle, England, against Costa Rica and on September 12 against South Korea. The Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, second round, begin in November. Saudi Arabia is in the group with Jordan, Tajikistan and one between Cambodia and Pakistan (from the first round). The first two of each group stand, but there is still a long way to go with two more group stages. From January 12th to February 10th the Asian Cup starts (in Qatar). Saudi Arabia belongs to the group with Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.
Diplomacy and federal personnel are also deployed in Italy. Not only Gagliardi announced his farewell. Andrea Barzagli, who was supposed to take care of the defensive phase with Mancini, also avoided: he understood that there would be no place for him. Spalletti will bring deputy Domenichini, technical assistant Baldini and athletic coach Sinatti. Another historical assistant, Pane, and a goalkeeping coach could be added to the group. Buffon will act as head of delegation and team manager. There is nothing to do for Bollini, the coach who won the European Under-19 Championship and should be Mancini’s deputy. Bollini hasn’t signed the contract yet but Gravina had requested special attention for him. A situation that must be resolved before moving on to the pressing issue of the calls. At the moment there is only the extended list of selectable options. With everyone, absolutely everyone, who was able to put their name on the first list that will be communicated on September 1st. The day after Spalletti’s first conference took place.
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