If reports in The Athletic (£) and elsewhere are to be believed, Tottenham Hotspur are about to make another important addition this summer, but to its coaching staff, not its first team players. However, this appointment might just be one of the most important moves Tottenham can make.
James Horncastle writes in The Athletic that Spurs are in the process of appointing Gianni Vio as a coach in Antonio Conte’s Tottenham staff. Vio is a set piece specialist, considered an expert in the area of offensive and defensive set pieces. If confirmed, he would come to Tottenham with a wealth of experiences both at the club and international level — he was a member of the coaching staff that led Italy to the 2020 European Championship title, and has stints at Catania (where he became known as “the little wizard”), AC Milan, Leeds, and Brentford.
Notably, the teams that he has coached at have dramatically improved their set pieces on both ends of the pitch. Take a look at this:
That’s important, because if there’s been one area of weakness at Tottenham last season, it was in set pieces — Spurs were pretty notoriously poor at converting offensive pieces, and late in the season when they did concede it tended to be from a corner or free kick. Vio’s appointment would seem to be Conte recognizing this weakness and directly addressing it with one of the best set piece coaches in the game.
It’s not confirmed yet, but if it is, I’m starting to believe that the appointment of Vio could be just as important as anything Tottenham does with first team players. Imagine a Tottenham squad with a more robust defense, additional depth, and the ability to consistently score from, and successfully defend against, dead ball chances. That’s massive.