Football Features

The main contenders to be Juventus’ next manager

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:10, 18 May 2019

It had been speculated for some time, but Massimiliano Allegri’s will be leaving Juventus at the end of the season.

The Italian took charge of Juventus in 2014 and has led the club to five straight Serie A titles as well as four Coppa Italia crowns.

But Juventus have once again failed to conquer Europe, losing two Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017 to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. This season, serial Champions League winner Cristiano Ronaldo was brought in with hopes of turning the tides but the Old Lady were knocked out at the quarter-final stages by Ajax.

As a result, Allegri’s position as Juventus manager was put under scrutiny and the club have recently announced his departure in the summer.

Allegri’s final game as Juventus manager will see them face Atalanta on Sunday to close out the Serie A season, with the title having been wrapped up in April.

But once that is over, Juventus will be looking to fill their vacant managerial spot to go again next season and look to add the Champions League to their Italian domination.

So, who should they appoint?

Dream: Jurgen Klopp

Even before the news of Allegri’s departure was announced, some of Europe’s best managers were being linked with taking over at Juventus.

One of those is Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who would be former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio’s personal choice.

“One that I believe cannot be had: Jurgen Klopp,” he said.

“I like his game and I like his way of playing football until the death. He would do very well in Italian football.”

When Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, he was met with a club in limbo, looking likely to fall far behind their rivals in the Premier League. But in the three-and-a-half years that have followed, the German has transformed Liverpool. They are now genuine Premier League title contenders and are about to play in their second consecutive Champions League final, this time as favourites.

And though Juventus are not in need of the dramatic makeover Liverpool required, Klopp’s improvements in the Champions League will catch the Old Lady’s eye – especially if they do win it.

Dream: Mauricio Pochettino

Another Premier League target for Juventus is Klopp’s Champions League final opponent Mauricio Pochettino.

According to reports, Juventus have already made contact with Pochettino about becoming their manager next season.

Like his Liverpool counterpart, there is no understating the job Pochettino has done at Tottenham since arrival in 2014. Spurs are about to play in their first ever Champions League final after securing another top-four finish in the Premier League.

And the fact Pochettino achieved this without the backing from his board in the transfer market – going two windows without a signing – proves just how good the Argentinian is. Just imagine what he could do with some funds for transfers.

Pochettino himself has stirred the pot over his future too in recent weeks, admitting he could be looking to leave Tottenham if the club do not match his ambitions.

Not content of taking one Champions League final appearance as a mark of success, Pochettino has his eyes of building a big club capable of regularly challenging for Europe’s top prize, something Juventus may lead on when trying to lure him to Italy.

Dream: Pep Guardiola

As well as Klopp and Pochettino, other reports in Italy believe Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is Juventus’ number one target to become their next manager.

The Spaniard has known success wherever he goes, winning league titles in Spain, Germany and England, most recently becoming just the third manager to retain the Premier League title after Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Although it is often used as a stick with which to beat the Spaniard, Guardiola has proven himself exceptional at taking well-established teams and improving them even more to dominate domestic leagues. And that’s what Juventus need right now.

The Bianconeri are by far and away the best team in Italy, leading Serie A by 13 points with two games remaining. But their problems have come in the Champions League, something Guardiola would be able to focus more on at Juventus than he can currently at Manchester City.

Guardiola will also have some knowledge of Serie A, owing to his brief spells with Roma and Brescia as a player, meaning he wouldn’t be entering the job unprepared.

Squawka Suggests: Mauricio Pochettino

Klopp and Guardiola may be out of reach, especially with the latter recently confirming he would be remaining at Man City, saying: “How many times do I have to say?

“I’m not going to go to Juventus, I’m not going to move to Italy. I’m satisfied here, I’m not going anywhere. Next season I will be manager of Man City, I said many times.”

But Pochettino could potentially be persuaded, with the man himself admitting he could look to leave Spurs this summer if the club do win the Champions League, having achieved all he can in north London.

Winning the Champions League? It should be fantastic, no? Close the five-year chapter and go home. It’s not a joke, why? To win the Champions League with Tottenham in these circumstances this season, maybe I need to think about maybe doing something different in the future.

– Pochettino on his Tottenham future

So Juventus may just be cheering on Tottenham come June 1, if they are to get their dream man.

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Realistic: Didier Deschamps

Perhaps the most surprising name linked with the soon-vacant Juventus job is current France manager Didier Deschamps. The Frenchman has history with the Old Lady, spending five years as a player and then returning as manager in 2006.

In his sole year with the club, Deschamps oversaw Juventus’ return to Serie A after their relegation following the Calciopoli scandal before leaving after fallings out with the hierarchy.

Since then Deschamps has enjoyed success with Marseille, winning Ligue 1 in 2008/09 as well as three Coupe de la Ligues. But his biggest success as a manager came last year when he led France to a second World Cup trophy, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final in Russia.

The glory came as a result of Deschamps pragmatic playing style, setting up his side to get results – rather than allowing the vastly talented players a free rein. And perhaps this is something from which Juventus can benefit in their quest for Champions League glory.

Realistic: Simone Inzaghi

Closer to home, a raid of a Serie A rival could be the best option for Juventus, with Simone Inzaghi emerging as a late runner for the job.

Since taking charge of Lazio in 2016, the Italian has enjoyed some success, leading the Biancocelesti to fifth in consecutive seasons. Last year, Lazio went agonisingly close to a Champions League spot, missing out due to their head-to-head record with fourth-placed Inter Milan.

But this season has been a highlight for Inzaghi, leading Lazio to the Coppa Italia with a 2-0 win over Atalanta in midweek – something which appears to have caught the eyes of Juventus and their directors Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici, with the latter having played with Inzaghi at Lazio.

Inzaghi has also shown signs of unrest at Lazio, previously expressing his frustration with the club’s refusal to back him in certain difficult moments.

Speaking after the Coppa Italia success, Inzaghi said: “I’ve been in this family since 1999 as a player and then a Coach. There were moments when I thought I’d be protected a little more, but I know who makes gratuitous criticism and who tries to be constructive.

“This was my fourth Coppa Italia Final as a Coach, because I do not forget the two I had here with the youth team. I am very happy and dedicate it to my lads. They too were perhaps criticised excessively this season.

“It’s right that we enjoy this evening, then there will be time to sit down with (director of sport Igli) Tare and the president to discuss everything.

“We have a good rapport, but some things shouldn’t be taken for granted the way people say.”

Squawka Suggests: Simone Inzaghi

He may not bring the immediate Champions League success that Juventus will be looking for, but Inzaghi could prove to be a good move for the future.

Firstly, he is more likely to come to Juventus than Deschamps, given the latter’s France commitments in qualifying for Euro 2020. But also, Inzaghi’s relationship with Nedved and Paratici may see him feeling more loved at Juventus than he currently does with Lazio, despite his closeness to the Biancocelesti.

Wildcard: Antonio Conte

Juventus and Antonio Conte appeared to be a match made in heaven during the Italian’s three years in Turin, and it’s no surprise to see him linked with a return.

Prior to Conte taking charge in 2011, Juventus were yet to truly recover from the Calciopoli scandal, without a league title since their return from Serie B. But the Italian led Juventus to three consecutive Serie A titles, starting their recent domination before leaving to take charge of Italy in 2014.

According to reports, Conte is high of the wish list of Nedved and Paratici whose admiration for the Italian has only increased since he departed Juventus.

In the years since, Conte started the re-emergence of the Italian national team, though it has since been reversed and led Chelsea to the Premier League title just one year after they had finished 10th.

But the biggest obstacle for Juventus in getting Conte back is the fact that the Italian is being linked with the Inter Milan job, and reportedly close to agreeing a deal in the summer.

Wildcard: Jose Mourinho

Another big name manager still looking for a job after a spell in England, Jose Mourinho appears to be in with an outside chance of getting the Juventus role.

The Portuguese tactician was sacked by Manchester United in December after a poor start to his third season and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but is ready to return to management in the summer.

Mourinho has already turned down the likes of Benfica, stating his desire to take charge of one of Europe’s bigger clubs – and Juventus certainly fall under that category.

The 56-year-old has previous experience in Serie A, spending two years with Inter Milan in which he won two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and the Champions League – with the Nerazzurri the last Italian team to win a European trophy.

But now, Mourinho does present somewhat of a risk. The Portuguese has been sacked mid-season by his two most recent clubs, United and Chelsea, for fallings out with the board and players, while also leaving a big clean-up job for those who followed.

Squawka Suggests: Antonio Conte

They say you should never return to an ex, but would it be so bad for Juventus?

Both Conte and Mourinho have their positives and negatives, with the former still not fully repairing his relationship with club president Andrea Agnelli as well as the links to Inter Milan.

But his appointment may be better received by Juventus fans given the success he enjoyed at the club, and Jose Mourinho’s recent antics. After Manchester United beat Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in the Champions League, Mourinho taunted the home fans, sparking the anger of Biaconeri players.

Though he is still a good manager, it may be best for Juventus to steer clear of Mourinho.

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