It was quote muche the same. The centre forward was the inspirator of the forwards play rather than the finisher. Usually the finishers were the two inside-forward. It was just with the metodo, with the 2 inside forwards becoming "mezzali" that the centroavanti became the "designated" finisher of the attacks. And it was only with the arrive of Piola that the figure of the centroavanti became almost always that of an "ariete" (batterin ram"), a strong man capable of scoring in the box thanks to his phisical strenght and powerful shot. As for the question about books that deal with tactics in the history of the italian game, I've read one, but it was puerile (I don't own it, but i could find the title if you really want). The best readings are the contemporaries newspaper (gazzetta dello sport ) and weeklies (Il calcio illustrato, la domenica sportiva ecc.) which contained alot of articles about tactics. If you want a good read you should try "Storia critica del calcio italiano" written by Gianni Brera... don't know if it has been ever translated into english. It also deals with tactics, but above all it's a materpiece of sport writing.