Rafa Benitez's exit has been viewed viewed as a fait accompli for some time now. Luciano Spalletti, Antonio Conte even departing Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp are some of the names that have come up as the managerial has spun. Now the wheel is landing on one of the earliest names mooted.
Sinisa Mihajlovic, currently the manager of Serie A's surprise package Sampdoria, is reported by Corriere dello Sport to have a deal to succeed Benitez in the San Paolo hot seat next season. The blucerchiati are in the midst of one of their finest seasons for many years, sitting fifth, three points behind the partenopei who they face Sunday night in a huge match in the battle for the European spots, with both sides hoping to better the 1-1 draw they battled to earlier in the season.
Mihajlovic would bring a wealth of Italian experience to the Napoli job after managing Bologna, Catania, and Fiorentina in the past, and having played 315 game in Serie A for four different clubs. He also has significant international experience, with 63 caps for the former Yugoslavia national team, and a spell in charge of the national side of his native Serbia.
One big question about a Mihajlovic appointment how he would perform in Europe. Benitez is not only one of the most experienced coaches at leading sides in European competition, but also one of the most successful, with a Champions League trophy in his cabinet next to two Europa League titles. Mihajlovic hasn't coached a game in either of those competitions, and Serbia only managed a third place finish in their qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup.
Every year a team surprises in Serie A and inevitably that manager is lined up for bigger jobs. Mihajlovic is the hot young name this time, but this appointment could be a big risk, especially if Napoli find themselves in the Champions League group stage next season.