Claudio Ranieri’s hopes of becoming the next Italy manager receive timely boost from Nantes president

The former Leicester City boss said if the Italian Federation make an approach for his services, he would ask for permission to leave the club

Peter Rutzler
Wednesday 21 February 2018 20:45 GMT
Claudio Ranieri could become the next Italy manager
Claudio Ranieri could become the next Italy manager

Claudio Ranieri’s hopes of becoming the next Italy manager have been boosted by the news that he would not face opposition from his employers at Ligue 1 side Nantes should the Azzurri come calling.

The former Leicester City boss said yesterday that if the Italian Federation make an approach for his services, he would ask Les Canaris president Waldermar Kita for permission to leave the club.

Nantes currently occupy a Europa League spot in Ligue 1, sitting fifth after a bright start to life under the Premier League-winning manager.

Claudio Ranieri is in the frame to be the next Italy boss

And Nantes president Kita has gone on record to say that he wouldn’t stand in his manager’s way, should he wish to pursue his dream of managing the national side:

"If the situation presented itself, which is not the case, I would discuss it with him of course because he is a gentleman who has a huge experience in international football," Kita told L’Equipe.

"And I would understand in some way that a high-level career ends on an opportunity that will not come around twice.

"So we would have to analyse it, and see how we can organise it to not leave the club in a difficult situation.

“But for now, that is not the case, there are several candidates.

"Taking a team from his country is a dream for any coach and I don't like to curb someone's career. We would have to adapt, and do what we can do."

Nantes have been playing very well under Ranieri

Ranieri is no stranger to international football, having managed Greece during their ill-fated Euro2016 qualifying campaign. The Italian suffered the ignominy of losing at home to the Faroe Islands, and found himself out of a job after just four games.

He resurrected his career in dramatic style by guiding Leicester City to an unlikely Premier League title, before being relieved of his duties as the Foxes stumbled towards a relegation fight the following season.

Ranieri replaced Sergio Conceicao at Nantes last summer and he has so far looked at home in north-west France. The eight time champions have adapted quickly to his 'tinkerman' approach, becoming resolute defensively, although they lack the shine that players such as Riyadh Mahrez and Jamie Vardy brought to his East Midland overachievers.

Ranieri took Leicester to an unlikely Premier League title

Despite how he has settled, the 66-year-old Italian would not be torn when it comes to choosing between the French club and the national side: “Any Italian coach would love to be in charge of the national team,' Ranieri told Sky Sports Italia yesterday.

“I have a contract with Nantes for two years and I have not received any messages, so I can't say anything.

“But if I were to be contacted for the Italy job, I'd go to the Nantes president and ask to be released.”

Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup

Italy are currently without a permanent head coach after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked following their failure to qualify for the World Cup, the first time the four-time world champions will miss a World Cup since 1958.

A number of managers have been linked with the vacant Italian post, including Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini.

Luigi Di Biagio, Italy’s under 21 coach, is currently in charge of the Italian national team on an interim basis.

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