Who is Francesco Farioli, Ajax’s new head coach?

In a significant move, Ajax appointed Francesco Farioli as their new head coach at the end of May, replacing temporary boss John van ‘t Schip in the Dutch capital.

The Italian boss, who is highly rated in the game, signed a three-year deal with the Dutch giants.

Who is Francesco Farioli?

The 35-year-old didn’t play football professionally, instead choosing education. He studied sports science and philosophy at university before the Italian transitioned into coaching.

He honed his skills as a goalkeeping coach at Fortis Juventus, Lucchese, and the Aspire academy in Qatar, where he worked with the Gulf nation’s under-16 team.

His big break in coaching came when then-Benevento boss Roberto De Zerbi appointed him as his goalkeeping coach for the 2017/18 season. When De Zerbi moved to Sassuolo in 2018, Farioli joined him at the Neroverdi until 2020.

The Italian took another step in his coaching career in season 2020/21, when he became the assistant manager at Turkish club Alanyaspor.

In March 2021, Farioli began his career as the head coach of another Turkish club, Fatih Karagumruk. At the age of 31, his appointment made him the youngest manager in Europe.

His spell in Istanbul didn’t last long, as he left the club in December 2021 with a win per cent of 40.74, claiming 11 victories.

He was back at work on New Year’s Eve the same year, returning to his old club, Alanyaspor, this time as the head coach. He had a decent spell with the club, which ended in February 2023, having won 20 of his 48 games in charge.

Farioli returned to management in May 2023, this time at Ligue One Nice, having signed a two-year deal. While with the French club, he earned his UEFA Pro license.

The Italian performed well with Nice, guiding Les Aiglons to a fifth-place finish and qualification for the Europa League group stage. His performance in France led to Ajax taking an interest in his services, and Farioli started his new role in Amsterdam on 11th June.

He has a massive job on his hands

Ajax has taken a massive gamble on appointing a head coach with such a relative lack of experience.

The team from the Dutch capital has just come off one of the worst Eredivisie campaigns in their history, finishing fifth in the standings.

Any head coach coming into the club would have a big job on their hands, turning things around after the poor last campaign. However, there is one plus point to going into the new season, which is that things can only get better than in season 2023/24.

It would be hard for Ajax to endure a worse campaign than last season, so it could be an ideal job for Farioli and may well ease the pressure slightly.

The Italian seems to be aware of the challenge ahead of him, he is quoted by the BBC as saying: “We want to reconnect with the DNA of the club, aiming to bring new energy with a positive way of working and thinking,”

“I’m aware that there is a lot of work to do, but we have already begun preparing. We don’t want to waste any time getting ready for the new season and bringing Ajax back to where it belongs.”

This summer could be huge for Ajax

After last season’s debacle in the Eredivisie, this summer could well be a massive one for the Amsterdam giants.

Not only will the club have a new head coach in charge of the team, but there will undoubtedly be many personnel changes. Last summer, Ajax’s transfer business was highly inconsistent.

One example of a transfer that didn’t work out was Georgian forward Georges Mikautadze, who arrived from Metz in the summer. He didn’t work out and returned to the French club on loan in January before completing a permanent switch back to Metz.

The forward impressed for his country at Euro2024, with his displays showing why Ajax brought him in the first place.

This summer’s transfer activity has to be better, as the squad last season was simply not good enough.

If the club can bring in some quality players and Farioli can build on the promise he showed at Nice, then Ajax should be in for a significant improvement in season 2024/25.

Will Francesco Farioli be the head coach to turn Ajax around?