We freely admit it: After Carlo Ancelotti was let go by Napoli in the wee hours of Tuesday night, visions of the Italian coach roaming the sidelines of an MLS club started dancing in our heads.
While Ancelotti is known for managing the glorious likes of AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, it's not as crazy as it sounds. Ancelotti has previously spoken of an interest in trying out Major League Soccer, he's lived in Vancouver in recent years, and there happens to be three big-market teams angling for a new boss man.
Of course, European tabloids have quickly linked Ancelotti with Arsenal, Everton and a Real Madrid return, but let's not trouble ourselves with such matters. Instead, we have decided to figure out which open MLS coaching post would provide the best fit. Ya know, just in case he's in the mood to shop around.
The rebranded, rebuilding Chicago Fire FC present an interesting challenge. In addition to needing a new head coach, they're also currently searching for a new general manager and numerous reinforcements for their incomplete squad. This chance to mold the team in his own image might be tempting for Ancelotti, or it might be a major project to tackle less than three months away from the 2020 season opener.
The same dynamic hangs over the club's recent struggles (only one finish above fifth in the East over the last seven seasons). The best selling points may be the Fire's three open Designated Player slots, some quality young talent, and a blank slate of sorts.
Speaking of blank slates, the expansion side could certainly also be described as a work in progress, but they may actually have more enticing roster pieces at this time. Young DP Matias Pellegrini looks like a star in the making, while Julian Carranza and Christian Makoun are also highly intriguing prospects. Inter Miami have a dependable veteran core of experienced MLS performers in place, including netminder Luis Robles, Lee Nguyen and a trio of solid fullbacks.
It should be noted that Ancelotti recently expressed some interest in taking an MLS job under David Beckham, whom he managed for brief stints at both AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
"Beckham is my friend and was my player, I have a good relationship with him," he told the Miami Herald in August. "I think the MLS is improving and could be a good experience in the future."
New York City FC
As pointed out by Matt Doyle earlier this week, the Cityzens quite arguably boast the most filled-out squad as of right now. And as formationally flexible as Ancelotti has grown over the years, the NYCFC that Dome Torrent left behind also happens to fit neatly into his tactical wheelhouse.
The Italian loves a strong defensive foundation (check!). He loves a defensive midfielder that can also spray the ball around positively (say hello, Alex Ring!). He loves wide defenders that get up and down by policy (may we introduce you to Anton Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita?!). He loves wily forward who can build and finish plays (step right up, Heber!) and playmakers that can control play in different ways (come on down, Maxi Moralez!). He loves to possess and to press in the same game (check and check-a-roo!).
Put it all together, and this is not a team that he'll need to dramatically reconstruct (or, in the case of Inter Miami, help construct from the ground up). He could just come in and manage a winning group that still has playoff mountains left to climb.
The Chicago job is attractive, but perhaps loaded with too much uncertainty right now. And as enticing as Inter Miami, the city it calls home and the chance to work with old charge Beckham may be, the fit in the Bronx just seems too perfect to pass up if Ancelotti is serious about coming to MLS.