Swansea City have given Francesco Guidolin a two-year contract at the club, despite reports that Brendan Rodgers was set to get the job.
The 60-year-old Italian took over from a sacked Garry Monk in January on a short-term contract until the end of this season. Swansea were in serious relegation danger at the time, but he has transformed the club’s fortunes.
The Swans had won just four out of 21 matches and occupied 18th place, yet during Guidolin’s reign they have beaten the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, and are 11th on 46 points going into Sunday’s final Premier League game of the season against Liberty Stadium visitors Manchester City.
“I am very happy,” Guidolin told Swansea’s official website. “It is an important day for me, and I am honoured to be given the chance to continue managing this wonderful club.
“I came into the club at a difficult time, and it was my first experience of the Premier League. Now, I have the possibility to start my work at the beginning of a new season; something I’m excited about.
“I would like to thank my players first of all, plus the staff and our fans. It was very emotional for me to hear them sing my name after the game at West Ham, and I’ve had nothing but good wishes from everyone I’ve met on the streets of Swansea.
“The possibility for me to work with them and for them again is very important to me. It’s an honour, and I am grateful to the chairman and the board for giving me this opportunity.”
Guidolin’s deal was ratified at a Swansea board meeting on Wednesday, and Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said:
“Francesco fully deserves the chance to continue his good work into the new campaign.
“He was prepared to come into the club at such a difficult time and put himself in a pressure situation with the club fighting for survival.
“He has achieved the goal of securing top-flight football for this club with plenty to spare, and has earned the right to start afresh next season.
“It’s going to be another challenge for everyone, but we are looking forward to seeing how far he can take this squad of players over a full season.
“We are confident that he can carry on the good work at the end of this season into the new campaign.”
Former Swansea manager Rodgers, who took the club into the Premier League in 2012, had been heavily linked with a return to the Liberty Stadium since leaving Liverpool last October.
Rodgers revealed in January that he had been approached to succeed Monk, but he told the Swansea board that he wanted a break from football until this summer.
Jenkins added, having put his trust in Guidolin:
“There has obviously been a lot of speculation over recent weeks about a possible change of manager, but the board has been impressed with the way he has quietly gone about the job of improving performances and results since January.
“Francesco and his staff have also gained valuable experience of working with the current group of players and Premier League football. That should stand everyone in good stead as we prepare for the new season ahead.”