Fiorentina have announced they have parted company with head coach Vincenzo Montella.
The former striker had caused frustration among the Viola hierarchy after delaying a decision over whether or not to commit to the club for the long term, with his contract soon to enter its final year.
President Andrea Della Valle released a statement last week expressing his concern over Montella’s reluctancy to settle his future, arguing that the club “could not afford to wait around any longer” for a decision.
And Fiorentina have now announced they have released Montella from his position, citing a breach of trust in a terse statement released through their official website on Monday.
“ACF Fiorentina have valued the recent behaviour of head coach Vincenzo Montella as a clear desire to break free of a contract legitimately signed less than two years ago,” the statement read.
“So, with great regret, we must note a failed level of trust necessary for the continuation of any relationship, and we are therefore forced – for the good of the club – to dismiss Vincenzo Montella.
“The situation obviously creates sudden organisational problems which we must resolve urgently.
“We would have expected behaviour that was clearer, more respectful and less ambiguous with respect to a club and fans who gave him so much.”
The decision comes just days after Montella had claimed he would honour his contract despite Fiorentina’s public frustration.
“I am surprised by the club’s announcement, but I’m the Fiorentina coach and I am available to continue at the helm with enthusiasm,” he told reporters.
Basel head coach Paulo Sousa has been touted as a favourite to replace Montella but the Portuguese was keen to play down any imminent agreement.
“These are just rumours,” he told FiorentinaNews.
“That’s normal in football. In any case, I’m obviously planning for next season here [at Basel].”
Basel sporting director Georg Heitz stated that no approaches have yet been made for Sousa, who won the league title and reached the Champions League last 16 with the Swiss club this term, but could not rule out a departure.
“As of today, we believe that Paulo Sousa will be our coach next season,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “No club has yet approached us with an offer for him, and that would need to be a hugely compelling one, because he has a contract with us.
“But, in football, there are no guarantees. Therein lie the dynamics of our business.”
Former Italy striker Montella, who led Fiorentina to the 2014 Coppa Italia final and the last four of the Europa League this term, has been linked with the vacant job at Napoli as well as the AC Milan post.