Italy will offer Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio the chance to take charge of the senior team on an interim basis for next month's friendlies against Argentina and England, according to newly appointed Italian Football Federation (FIGC) deputy commissioner Alessandro Costacurta.
Italy post still vacant
The Azzurri have been without a coach since Gian Piero Ventura's departure in the aftermath of their failure to qualify for 2018 World Cup Russia. Play-off defeat to Sweden marked the first time in 60 years that four-time winners Italy had missed out on a place at the showpiece tournament, and appointing a successor has been complicated by the failure to elect Carlo Tavecchio's successor as FIGC president.
Roberto Fabbricini, general secretary of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) was installed as emergency leader of the FIGC on Thursday and, under Costacurta's watch, events have picked up pace.
"We will call Di Biagio and we will speak with him about his role as interim national coach. He will be our interim CT," the former AC Milan centre-back told Calciomercarto, while offering a carrot that the former Roma and Inter midfielder could put himself in contention for the role on a full-time basis. "It's clear, if he wins the next friendly matches, we need another coach for Under-21 team".
Italy's March friendlies
Italy face Argentina at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium on 23 March before taking on England at Wembley four days later.
Di Biagio lacks top-flight coaching experience but has seemingly been given the chance to press claims for the top job after Chelsea manager Antonio Conte ruled out the notion of returning to his former post with the national team.
"I can tell you that Costacurta is a friend. We played together with the national team in 1994 [at the World Cup]," Conte told a news conference on Friday. "But, maybe he forgot that I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea. My intention, my will, my desire is to respect this contract."