Former New England manager and Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga declared earlier this week that he'd like a crack at the vacant New York hot seat. Kyle McCarthy ponders the Zenga link in his Wednesday Musings.By Kyle McCarthy
The light week before a holiday is the perfect time for a frivolous rumor or two. Fluffy, light and whimsical, just like the snow that graces the northern climes of the United States this time of year.
Some of these rumors have more basis than others. Even the Eric Wynalda-to-Chicago rumor – as preposterous and wickedly enticing as it is – has a tenuous link or two to reality.
Then there's the whole Walter Zenga-to-New York scenario. Perfectly superficial and quite worthy of a dollop of holiday cheer and discussion.
The scuttlebutt started when an interviewer approached Zenga during an event hosted by Palermo forward Fabrizio Miccoli on Monday, according a blog post by Frank Dell'Apa, the once and future soccer scribe and current Italian-speaking hoops writer for The Boston Globe. In the middle of that interview, Zenga revealed that he might be interested in taking over the vacant Red Bulls hot seat.
Cue the buzz and the consternation.
The buzz, quite rightfully, surrounds one of the most noticeable figures in Italian football. Former Italy goalkeeper Zenga wants to return to the league where he last played and first managed, it seems. Chalk it up to his preferred life style – livin' on the edge, as Aerosmith used to say – or to the pressure-free environment in America, but Zenga is interested in taking his occasionally successful management skills and always flamboyant communication abilities to Red Bull Arena.
Zenga might not be the worst fit either. He has some familiarity with MLS after his two-plus years in New England as a player and a player-coach and his outsized and engaging personality might even carve a small niche in the New York market. On the field, he's won enough – league titles with Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) and Steaua Bucharest (Romania) and a tidy season with Serie A minnows Catania last campaign highlight his CV – to suggest there's some managerial nous there as well.
The consternation commences after a deeper look at Zenga's record. The Italian boasts one of the few managerial itineraries more transitive than a comprehensive list of the coaches who once inhabited the Red Bulls hot seat. Like any lengthy resume, there are just as many hits as misses. Quite frankly, New York can't afford another miss in a long series of coaching hire mishaps, perceived or actual. Hiring a guy with MLS experience ten years ago to work under a guy with no MLS experience ever might fall into that category before the first whistle, no matter how often the new coach can charm a crowd.
But in the end, the pros and the cons likely won't matter. Zenga said one thing, New York issued the standard no comment to The New York Times and there the situation stood. Maybe Red Bulls supremo Erik Soler will take Zenga up on his interest, shunning the candidates he already had in mind here and abroad in order to hire the Spiderman. More than likely, the Zenga-to-New York link will remain a particularly compelling entrant in a series of rumors, founded or unfounded, to keep us entertained before a long weekend.
At this time of year, it's just as entertaining as watching snow flutter to the ground.
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for
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