Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti's job hangs in the balance

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti’s job hangs in the balance just 14 DAYS after Serie A title win… with the Italian ‘no longer on speaking terms with mad-cap owner Aurelio De Laurentiis’ and the club lining up Rafa Benitez as a replacement

  • Napoli could replace Luciano Spalletti with Rafa Benitez as boss next year
  • Contract talks with the title-winning boss have frozen with club’s president 
  • USA duo Christian Pulisic and Taylor Booth are both wanted by the Serie A side 

Napoli have yet to agree terms on a new deal for coach Luciano Spalletti, and could be replaced by Rafael Benitez next season. 

The 64-year-old’s contract expires at the end of next season, after the club recently triggered an extension on his deal until summer 2024, and he had been expected to ink new terms following Napoli’s Serie A title win. 

Now La Gazzetto dello Sport are reporting that negotiations with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis on a new deal have frozen, and the pair are not on speaking terms. 

Reports are linking the newly-crowned Serie A champions with former boss Benitez after contact was made with the Spaniard over a possible return to the club.

Relations between coach and club, while normally good, could fragment due to Spalletti’s unerring honesty and the uncertainty over whether the club can repeat their title-winning feat next season could cause the working relationship with Napoli to falter. 

Luciano Spalletti’s future as Napoli boss in doubt after contract talks with the club froze 

Contact has been made with Rafa Benitez over a possible return to replace Spalletti at Napoli 

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis (right, front) failed to thank Spalletti for title win in recent comments

The automatic renewal accepted by Spalletti but may not have been by his staff, who will surely feel the weight of the high emotional and social pressures which have the potential to crush the 64-year-old beneath them.

For Spalletti to remain at the helm while hiding his desire to seek new adventures with them would be harmful for the club, and greater clarity for the coach is anticipated in the next few days. 

Napoli secured their first Serie A title for 33 years earlier this month, sparking wild celebrations in the city. 

Upon the victory it was believed Spalletti’s would be offered a new two-year deal, with a higher salary than his current £2.43million (€2.8m) per season and met De Laurentiis for dinner last week to chat over the contract.

However, all discussions on the team’s future stopped and director Cristiano Giuntoli’s presence began to impede the conversations between the coach and president. 

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Tuscan coach would have clearly expressed his opposition to certain technical differences and, above all, the departure of some of the club’s more illustrious players at the end of Serie A. 

As such, there has been no confirmation on any new deal and earlier this week De Laurentiis refused to be drawn on Spalletti’s future when asked about the club’s manager. Instead the president chose to thank the team for their efforts this season, with no mention of the man who lead them to their title victory. 

Benitez had a two-year spell in charge of the Italian side in 2013. Leading them to a Coppa Italia win over Fiorentina and qualification to the Champions League in his first season of the club. He left at the end of the 2014-15 season, after Lazio pipped Napoli to fourth spot and moved to take charge of Real Madrid. 

The former Champions League and Europa League winner has been out of work since leaving Everton in January last year, but had recently been linked the vacant posts at Leicester and Crystal Palace earlier this season. 

Sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has already communicated a desire to leave the club

Spalletti could be intrigued by the prospect of taking over at Juventus if he does leave Napoli

Letting the club’s star players depart could prove a point of contention between coach and club

Spalletti is at risk of following sporting director Giuntoli – who is almost certain to leave at the end of the season for Juventus – out the door to the country’s northern giants.

Giuntoli has already communicated his decision to leave the club to move to Juventus and it is possible that Spalletti may be fascinated by the idea of ​​coaching the Bianconeri. 

With no certainties surrounding Osimhen’s future and the knowledge that Giuntoli does not wish to remain at the club, Spalletti’s future is today a difficult puzzle to put together. 

Napoli are now an exceptional brand, but losing both the coach and the sporting director in the same year would be a very serious problem to be solved even for a wizard like De Laurentiis. 

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