Reports in Italy indicate that this summer's shakeup in Napoli's leadership structure may be bigger than we thought. It already looks like a near-certainty that Rafa Benitez will depart when his contract expires at the end of the season, but now after reports today in Italy, sporting director Riccardo Bigon may be looking for a new job as well.
According to reports, talks of a potential extension of Bigon's deal -- which expires in 2016 -- have been refused, though it's not entirely clear by which party. Either way, it's apparently looking possible that Napoli and Bigon part ways this summer, with Aurelio De Laurentiis considering bringing in Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade to replace him.
Bigon has been Napoli's sporting director since 2009 after holding a similar role with Reggina. His father Alberto had managed both clubs during his career, including winning the title with Napoli in 1990, so it almost made sense for him to be a part of the clubs thanks to the history of family ties. He's done some very impressive work in the role for Napoli in the last six years -- though many fans choose to do nothing but criticize him -- but now apparently he and Napoli feel it's time to move on.
As for Prade, he's done some good work for Fiorentina in the lats three years, though his work was decidedly inconsistent with Roma in the years he spent in the capitol before then. He seems like a solid choice as a sporting director, though, with a good eye for talent and ability to work out good fees for players the club is selling.
The timing actually makes a fair bit of sense. If Napoli are going to have to hire a new manager, bringing in a new sporting director at the same time is a logical choice if they were considering letting Bigon go at the end of his deal anyways. That way the new manager and sporting director can work closely together as they figure out how to retool the side for future success.
Still, Bigon departing in the midst of what's already looking to be a chaotic summer will only add more questions in the short term than it could possibly answer. Hopefully things work out for the best, but this looks like it's going to be a long offseason.